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4G mobile Internet access arrives in LA

November 29, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
While computers may be the choice for Cyber Monday shopping, Sprint Nextel is hoping cell phones will eventually become the best way to buy online.The carrier on Monday launched its 4G capability throughout Los Angeles and northern Orange County.

"4G is fast, mobile broadband," said Sprint spokeswoman Kathleen Dunleavy. "It's up to 10 times faster than 3G."

Using a gourmet food truck as a 4G Wi-Fi hotspot, company officials used free food and a tech-savvy actress to lure in the crowds to try out the speed.

"4G is faster, it's what you'd want for your phone," said actress Olivia Munn. "It's just like going (online) at home."

Customers can also purchase the $50 Sprint Overdrive as a hotspot, which can connect up to five people to the 4G speed.

Although 4G coverage is widespread, there are pockets where the higher speeds won't work.

"It's a pretty fragile network, so even if you're noticing those high speeds, it may be that you go a couple of blocks and it's down already," said Molly Wood, executive editor of CNET.

Another downside to the service is that those who own Sprint 4G phones will have to pay more to use the technology.

"I'm a little hesitant on the $10 surcharge added on to those high-speed plans," said Susan Iskiwitch, a Sprint customer.

According to experts, although Sprint has now become the leader in offering faster and wider coverage, Verizon and AT&T will also launch 4G capability by the end of 2011.