Customers can now order the new Samsung 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot online or in Verizon Stores, Samsung and Verizon announced on Tuesday. The new mobile hotspot, which allows up to five Wi-Fi-enabled devices to connect to Verizon's 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network at the same time, will begin shipping on March 31.
Samsung's new device, which is about the size of a small stack of credit cards, promises to connect users to Verizon's next generation mobile network with download speeds of 5 to 12 Mbps and upload speeds of 2 to 5 Mbps. That's about 10 times faster than a typical 3G connection and up to 2.5 times faster than the average home broadband service in the United States. Today, Verizon offers 4G LTE service to 39 cities in the US and has announced plans to expand this coverage to 98 cities by the end of 2011. In areas without 4G coverage, the Samsung 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot is backward-compatible with Verizon's existing 3G network.
If you need a high-speed mobile hotspot in your pocket, the Samsung device and associated data services will put a small dent in your wallet. The device itself costs US$99.00 after mail-in rebate with a two-year contract or $269.99 without a contract. For service, Verizon charges a $50 monthly access fee for 5 GB of data or $80 per month for 10 GB. Customers who exceed their monthly rations can expect to pay an additional $10 per extra GB. Disappointingly, Verizon doesn't appear to offer an unlimited data package at any price.
With its rapidly growing family of 4G devices and services, Verizon is quickly becoming the carrier to beat in the next generation wireless market. Verizon launched its 4G services with only modems for PCs last December and introduced its first 4G-compatible phone, the HTC Thunderbolt, earlier this month. In the second quarter of this year, the Motorola Xoom will receive a hardware upgrade that will allow Verizon to add the tablet to its 4G family. The Samsung 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot completes the starting lineup, enabling any Wi-Fi device -- like a Mac or an iPad -- to enjoy Verizon's speedy LTE services.
The Samsung 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot is available to order through Verizon's website.