New devices allow for mobile wireless broadband

LG Electronics Inc., Samsung Electronics Co., and HTC Corp. are bringing out similar phones for the network. And Hewlett-Packard Co. is adding 4G wireless capability to a laptop and a netbook.

There also will be two “mobile hotspot” devices for the network: small battery-powered bricks that act as Wi-Fi access points, connecting Wi-Fi-equipped computers to the 4G network.

Verizon didn’t reveal what the new devices or wireless plans will cost.

Verizon’s size—by number of subscribers, it’s the largest U.S. wireless carrier—and the quality of its network are helping it gain traction with manufacturers.

“By deciding to go early and go first to [4G wireless], we sent a signal to the entire consumer electronics market that this technology would develop very quickly,” said Lowell McAdam, Verizon’s president and chief operating officer, in a keynote address at the trade show Jan. 6.

There’s speculation that Verizon will get to sell a version of Apple Inc.’s iPhone this year. That would break AT&T Inc.’s exclusive hold on the most popular smart phone. But there was no talk of an iPhone from Verizon at CES.

With or without the iPhone, Verizon’s new mobile wireless broadband network is pressuring its competitors to step up their offerings. AT&T Inc. on Jan. 5 said it’s on track to launch its own 4G wireless network this summer. Also, it said it will start calling its current 3G network “4G,” because it’s been upgraded to be capable of nearly 4G speeds.

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