Verizon Wireless (VZ) has launched its new 4G or fourth-generation network in 38 cities and more airports offering data speeds faster than anything previously available over wireless. Verizon will be competing with Clear/Sprint’s 4G (S) network and the rebranded T-Mobile broadband network, which it is now calling “4G.” AT&T is not far behind with plans to launch its own 4G network during 2011. Meanwhile, Verizon, which now provides 4G coverage to one-third of the U.S. population, will continue to build-out additional coverage.
Metro PCS, Verizon Wireless, and soon AT&T’s launch of 4G networks will be good for chipset and device vendors. To be able to take advantage of the new broadband data speeds, customers will have to upgrade their existing handsets and devices, and I expect to see new tablets and netbooks come to market with 4G capabilities.
All of this bodes well for chip vendors such as Qualcomm (QCOM), Broadcom (BRCM), and even Intel (INTC), which has stated that there are a number of new tablet computers coming to market in 2011 using its chipsets and that it is also investing in chipsets for smartphones.
2011 will also be a good year for Apple (AAPL) since it will be introducing an iPhone and an iPad on the Verizon network. Google’s Android operating system is now widely used and will continue to gain ground, and the RIM Playbook, Research In Motion’s own version of a tablet, is also slated for entry in 2011. This will help RIM continue its growth in the business market.
Meanwhile, it appears as though the iPad will have plenty of new competition from many different companies including Dell (DELL), Samsung , LG, Motorola (MOT), HP (HPQ), and others. Not to be forgotten, 2011 is the year Motorola will spin off its cell phone company, and it seems to have righted the ship based on its 2010 sales figures.