|Verizon (LTE)||Verizon (EV-DO)||Sprint (WiMAX)||Sprint (EV-DO)||Clear (WiMAX)||Rover (WiMAX)||AT&T
(claimed, Mbps down / up)
|12 / 5||1.4 / 0.8||10 / 6||3.1 / 1.8||10 / 6||10 / 6||"More than" 14.4Mbps down1||21 / 5.71|
|38||264||68||Not disclosed3||68||68||Not disclosed4||2825|
|Largest data plan||10GB||10GB||Unlimited||5GB||Unlimited||Unlimited||5GB||Unlimited|
(prepaid only; $50 unlimited)
|Minimum price per GB||$8||$8||N/A||$12||N/A||N/A||$12||N/A|
|Maximum price per GB9||$10||$20||N/A||$12||N/A||N/A||$175||$124.95|
|1These are theoretical speeds; the carrier doesn't offer "real-world" numbers.
|2Only when using the iSpot, which is limited to 6Mbps down.
|3Though Sprint won't provide a market figure, it says that roughly 266 million people are covered.
|4Though AT&T won't provide a market figure, it says that roughly 250 million people are covered.
|5Includes both HSPA and HSPA+ markets..
|6Though the 3G-only MiFi can no longer be purchased in the consumer channel, the Overdrive can be used on EV-DO.|
|7Verizon has not clarified if no-contract pricing will be available, but currently, none has been announced.|
|8Sprint subsidiary Virgin Mobile offers no-contract data.|
|9Does not include overage charges.
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So as you can see, there isn't a clear-cut winner by any stretch of the imagination -- it really depends on what you're looking for -- and considering that Verizon is launching with just two USB sticks (that lack Mac compatibility) in 38 markets total, it'll be a while before they become a mass-market option. More importantly, judging from the disparity in pricing from left to right, it'll be a while yet before data plans stabilize; question is, is 10GB enough of a bucket when your network's capable of delivering real-world, low-latency speeds of 10Mbps?
Ross Miller contributed to this report.