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Verizon turns on 4G for South Florida on Dec. 5

Verizon will have 4G wireless data speeds for customers in South Florida starting Sunday, the company announced Wednesday.

Although there are no smartphones that work with Verizon's 4G network for sale, it will work with two mobile USB modems that give portable Internet access to notebook computers.

The new 4G compatible USB modems (made by LG and Pantech) will go on sale Sunday for $99.99 each, after rebate and a two-year contract. Data plans are $50 a month for 5 GB of data, and $80 for 10 GB. If a customer goes over, they are charged an additional $10 per gigabyte, and will be warned via text message when they approach their plan's data limit.

"Virtually all our customers will find their usage fits into these two plans," said Tony Melone, Verizon's senior vice president and chief technical officer.

The 4G technology Verizon uses is called LTE (long term evolution). Melone said it is 10 times faster than the current 3G network, allowing for a 10 megabyte presentation to be downloaded in 10 seconds.

During the press conference, Melone said Verizon will sell smartphones that can use 4G by mid 2011.

South Florida is among the first 38 metro areas Verizon is deploying 4G speeds. A street-level map of 4G coverage will be available on Verizon's website starting on Sunday.

Sprint launched its 4G network on Monday, which uses a different technology called WiMAX. T-Mobile launched its version of 4G, called HSPA+, to South Florida in August. AT&T will begin offering LTE 4G in mid 2011.

Also offering 4G Internet access for laptops is Comcast, who began selling Internet 2go this week, along with Clearwire, which owns the 4G WiMAX networks Sprint and Comcast use.

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