Verizon to Offer Five 4G Phones, Slew of Tablets Next Year

Verizon plans to sell five new phones that run on its new fourth-generation, or 4G, network by next May, as the company steps up efforts to launch high-speed smartphones, tablets and mobile gadgets to attract data-hungry consumers.

The Basking Ridge, N.J.-based carrier said the slew of new handsets, ready sooner than its previous mid-2011 estimate, could be offered by Motorola, HTC, LG and BlackBerry maker Research in Motion.

The new phones will be based on the company’s new 4G technology, known as Long Term Evolution, or LTE — able to send data up to 10 times faster than current networks.

“I’d say all the major manufacturers we’re talking to today are making the transition to LTE,” said Lowell McAdam, Verizon’s chief executive.

Verizon, currently in a heated race with Sprint to build out the nation’s first 4G network, expects the new service to cover around 100 million people across 25 to 30 markets — including New York City — by the end of the year.

In addition to the 4G phones, the company outlined plans to offer several new high-speed devices, starting with a selection of tablet computers, running Google’s Android platform, from companies such as Motorola, Samsung and LG.

“There’s no reason we couldn’t have an iPad,” McAdam said.

Verizon is also teaming up with the Internet search giant to develop a tablet to compete with Apple’s iPad.

As the number of new subscribers signing up for plans begins to saturate, carriers have increasingly looked to data for growth, offering services for wireless devices such as tablets, netbooks and even dog collars.

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