Verizon promises first 4G handset for next summer, foretells end of unlimited data plans

Alright, you ultrafast mobile broadband zealots, whip out your calendars and draw a big red tick around the middle of 2011. Verizon's CTO Anthony Melone has identified next summer as the carrier's release window for its first LTE handset, which should be preceded by the 4G service being rolled out by the end of this year. If you're wondering what you'll be using on that "faster than 3G" network while waiting for the vanguard handset, we saw plenty of LTE-equipped gear at CES and let's not forget about that 1080p-decodin' NVIDIA tablet that was teased during the show. The one bit of bogus news from Melone was the statement that contracts with "as much data as you can consume is the big issue that has to change." Verizon seems resolutely set on introducing some type of tiered or metered price plans, which is unfortunately the same path AT&T is headed down. The message from the networks is therefore clear: with great (downloading) power comes great (bill-paying) responsibility.