The smartphone experience has long been at the mercy of how fast the cell phone network can handle. 3G was a major upgrade in cell phone speed and heralded the beginning of more wide spread smart phone usage. Now 4G is starting to be adopted and promises even faster speeds.
Verizon has announced its new faster 4G wireless network will begin operation on December 5th. The networks should support speeds of 5 to 12 megabytes per second at start, and may expand beyond that. 3G is generally rated at about 2 megabytes per second. So at minimum you should see a doubling of available bandwidth. The network at debut should cover about 110 million people in the US, with more areas coming online shortly after.
Plans will start at $50 a month for 5GB of data. Verizon will start with 2 modems for notebooks and begin rolling out smartphones based on 4G next year. Both modems will cost $99.99 with a 2 year contract after $50 mail in rebate. Both modems are also backwards compatible with 3G technologies, so you will be able to use them in areas that are not covered by 3G. Interestingly they will be able to seamlessly go from 4G to 3G, however they will not upgrade back to 4G until data transmission has stopped.
Verizon should start rolling out new phones supporting 4G starting in January with a half dozen smartphones expected to be announced that month.