Wireless Internet Providers By Zip Code
The hottest topic in broadband these days is wireless Internet. With the launch of new 4G LTE networks by Verizon and AT&T in 2011, Americans gained access to mobile broadband connections at speeds which can compete with DSL or cable. This guide will explain your options for getting a high speed wireless Internet providers by zip code in the United States.
There are two main wireless Internet providers in the U.S., AT&T and Verizon. The other two major networks are Sprint and T-Mobile, but most people use the big two because they have the largest coverage areas and a head start on their 4G LTE networks. You can read reviews of each of these providers here, plus see what deals they currently offer:
AT&T Mobility - With one of the faster mobile networks available, AT&T is positioning itself to become the largest wireless Internet providers by zip code. AT&T's modern HSPA+ network covers over 300 million Americans with a fast Internet connection and it supports some of the most popular mobile devices in the market, including the Apple iPhone and the Apple iPad.
Verizon Wireless - With over 100 million subscribers as of early 2011, Verizon is currently the nation's largest wireless provider. The company is leading the charge toward faster mobile broadband with their new 4G LTE network. Verizon launched their LTE network in December of 2010 and they are in the process of expansion. This new network, coupled with the addition of the iPhone and iPad devices from Apple, make Verizon one of the top choices for mobile broadband in the U.S. at 4G speeds.
Sprint Wireless - The 3rd largest wireless provider in the country is Sprint Nextel with about 50 million subscribers. The company is a part-owner of Clear Internet which operates a new 4G broadband network using WiMAX. Sprint's older 3G network is based on CDMA and EVDO technology. Customers that sign up for 4G service will be using the same WiMAX network used by Clear Internet.
T-Mobile USA - T-Mobile is currently in the process of being acquired by AT&T, but strong opposition to the deal by Sprint, and pending FCC approval, could delay the transactions for many months to come. In the meantime, the 4th largest wireless carrier in the U.S. provides Internet service to over 33 million subscribers on its 3G HSPA+ network.
Another possibility is Clearwire, which mainly offers fixed home wireless Internet, but also offers mobile plans in most major U.S. cities.
A couple other options exist in the form of small prepaid wireless providers, such as Cricket, MetroPCS or LEAP Wireless. These companies are mainly discount mobile carriers with plans designed for casual data usage. Also, since they don't have the capital that companies like AT&T or Verizon do, the reach and speeds of their LTE networks are rather lacking.
4G LTE Wireless Internet Providers By Zip Code
For the longest time, 4G was simply a marketing term used by companies developing WiMAX and LTE wireless networks. The powers-that-be in mobile communications were constantly changing their minds about the exact specifics of what is 4G. In late 2010, the ITU (International Telecommunication Union) officially acknowledged America's LTE and WiMAX networks as 4G.
In deciding what is 4G, the ITU has defined some points that will distinquish 4G from current 3G technology. The important points include:
- Very high rates of data transfer (from 100 Mbps to 1 Gbps)
- Able to support interactive multimedia, voice, video streaming, etc.
- Much greater security than current wireless networks support.
The current reality of 4G as of 2011 can be summed up as unrealized potential. Yes, the ITU has officially given them a nod as 4G wireless, and yes they are faster than 3G, but they are nowhere near their full potential.
You can expect that it will between 2012 to 2015 before that potential is realized.
What 4G technology will eventually mean to consumers is much faster mobile connection speeds, much greater security, and a much wider area of availability. 4G means you'll be able to download & upload documents, videos, music, use e-mail, browse the Web, play online games, etc., at the same speeds outside of the home or office as you currently do at a location with a fixed form of broadband, such as DSL or cable.
The first 4G smartphone from Verizon, the HTC ThunderBolt, initially tested with downstream speeds from 7 up to 19 Mbps. So, the faster speeds are real and being deployed, but they are not widely available yet.
Although wireless Internet providers by zip code is a hot topic right now, the availability of the fastest speeds is limited to metropolitan areas and the monthly limits on data are still quite low. For these reasons, wireless high speed Internet is still not a good choice for regular in-home use unless you are using a residential wireless provider, like Clear Internet.
If you aren't sure what type of Internet service is available to your address, then we have a form which can check for you: search for Internet Providers By Zip Code.