Verizon's LTE network announcement event live at 12:00 ET!

So as you probably know, today's the day that Verizon comes clean with all the details on the commercial launch of its LTE network, having scheduled a press conference for noon Eastern Time. We already know many of the details, but we're crossing our fingers for some juicy extras in the event, namely any hints of information on when we'll see LTE-enabled handsets in the marketplace like the rumored HTC Mecha and that unnamed LG. Oh... and some solid plan pricing details would be nice, too. Follow the break for our liveblog!

11:44AM And that's it!

11:44AM "Whether you call it 4G or chicken soup, it launches this Sunday."

11:36AM Sounds like the modems will only be available in stores on December 5th -- no third-party retailers at first.

11:33AM "At some point in the future" Verizon might integrate LTE and 3G plans into one -- around the time that they start transmitting voice over LTE -- but Melone's generally dodging the question of plan unification pretty artfully. It's certainly not integrated to start, you'll be paying separately for LTE. He's thinking late 2012, early 2013 for the integration.

11:29AM The modems are capable of 4G-to-3G handoff, but not 3G-to-4G -- they'll stay on 3G until you're done transmitting data. Interesting.

11:27AM Melone says he believes LTE pricing "takes the market where it needs to be." Interesting phrasing there -- seems like Verizon's pretty confident that they've settled on a pricing model for data.

11:26AM Presentation's over. Q&A time!

11:25AM "This is for simple laptop connectivity." Jeff says they'll be talking about "consumer-oriented devices" (translation: phones) at CES.

11:24AM Street-level mapping of coverage will be available on Sunday.

11:22AM "Android really took off when Verizon got involved." He feels they'll do the same thing for LTE. Little full of himself there!

11:22AM "Not all 4G is the same." Not sure who he's referring to here, but it could be T-Mobile.

11:21AM "Looking ahead, I look forward to forging new relationships" as the network expands. We think Melone's hinting that we'll see other manufacturers hopping on board for modems and phones.

11:18AM They'll be "talking more" about other devices at CES, which they anticipate launching by "mid 2011." We suspect that's actually a bit on the safe side -- everything we've heard suggests they'll have phones out earlier.

11:17AM More modems coming out "within weeks." All are backward compatible with Verizon's EV-DO network.

11:17AM "We feel that virtually all of our customers" will fit into either the 5GB or 10GB plan, but there's "no limit" on the amount of overage you're allowed to incur -- there's no arbitrary slowdown on your account. (Gee, thanks guys!)

11:15AM Wired network-like latency, so he claims.

11:15AM 5 to 12Mbps down, 2 to 5Mbps up. Melone's talking about latency, too, which he claims is about half what you get on 3G.

11:14AM Melone's talking about continuing to expand 3G services, so they're clearly not looking at LTE as a short-term replacement in any sense of the word.

11:13AM News flash: Josh reports that the modem he's received is incompatible with Mac. Insane.

11:13AM Talking about the "nationwide" 700MHz spectrum holdings they've got to build out the network. Referring to it as "beachfront property."

11:10AM "Obviously, we're not stopping here. We have a very aggressive plan" to get to nationwide coverage in 2013.

11:10AM Also available in "over 60" commercial airports; most within the 38 launch markets, but some that are outside for the benefit of "road warriors."

11:09AM Launching in 38 markets, covering about 110 million pops.

11:08AM "Think of a flight from New York to Tokyo. It takes about 14 hours. Now imagine a technology that allowed you to get there in 80 minutes."

11:08AM It's officially official: launch is Sunday, December 5th (which we knew). They're claiming a 10x boost over the company's EV-DO network.

11:07AM On a side note: our dear leader Josh has just received his LTE modem. He says it's "huge" (physically, not metaphorically).

11:06AM And here comes Tony Melone, CTO of Verizon Wireless.

11:06AM Verizon's Jeff Nelson is in Massachusetts at the company's innovation center where they're working on LTE. Makes sense, considering today's announcements.

11:05AM And here we go -- although we're not sure if we're going to get any more information than what the press release has already told us!

11:05AM The two USB modems from LG and Pantech will each run $99.99 after $50 rebate.

11:04AM Well, we still haven't started, but we've seen the press release: $50 for 5GB, $80 for 10GB with $10/GB overage on both plans.

11:03AM "Today's conference is scheduled to begin momentarily." Still on hold!

10:57AM Really uplifting classical music on the hold line here. We wish we could tell you what the tune was (wouldn't you be impressed?) but we're simply not the classical buffs you thought we were.