Future iPad owners are all excited because the LTE network promises faster data speeds without battery compromises -- or, so said Apple during the product unveiling. But before going out and buying Apple's 4G LTE iPad, users should understand that 4G LTE is more of a work in progress than a fully realized super-fast wonderful data reality. Sure, there is reason for some excitement since LTE has proven faster than 3G and 4G networks, but don't let expectations get too high for the new network.
So. Many. Outages. Verizon's network is experiencing one right now, actually. It had one a few weeks ago. And it had them throughout December. The network just isn't that reliable. AT&T hasn't had as bad of a track record as Verizon. And, actually runs faster than Verizon's, at least according to this recent BGR test. But, AT&T's network works in fewer locations. Bringing us to disappointment number two.
LTE Isn't Everywhere. Below we have two maps on the right, Verizon's data coverage, on the left AT&Ts. The red and blue are 3G coverage, what the iPhone runs on. And the yellow dots represent 4G LTE availability -- very tiny bubbles of America. Verizon has more options than AT&T, though AT&T just announced a slew of new cities. Neither is that impressive and neither will work abroad. And, even where the network exists, coverage is spotty: See previous point.