What’s Verizon Wireless got against Rhode Island?

Alabama. Idaho. Mississippi. Oklahoma. Utah. West Virginia.

What do all these places have in common? Verizon has promised them they’ll have 4G wireless service by the end of this year – unlike Rhode Island.

Verizon’s long list of places that will get 4G in 2011 includes two more cities in Massachusetts – Boston has had it since December – and three in Connecticut. But Rhode Island is conspicuously absent.

That’s bad news for local gadget geeks salivating over the carrier’s new Thunderbolt 4G phone, which got a wet kiss from Walt Mossberg in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal. Did we do something wrong?

Nothing personal, Verizon Wireless spokesman Michael Murphy said.

“As you know we’re in the process of building a nationwide 4G LTE network that when completed will provide coverage everywhere our 3G network is currently available,” Murphy told me in an e-mail. “But it doesn’t happen overnight. As you can imagine, there is a tremendous amount of planning and work underway behind the scenes preparing markets for eventual activation.”

Sure, but Verizon has already told nearly 150 U.S. cities they either have 4G LTE or will get it later this year. Why haven’t we made the list? After all, Verizon’s LTE research facility is located less than an hour away from Providence in Waltham, Mass.

“Being in the news business I’m sure you can appreciate that we too are in a competitive industry and that Rhode Island is a highly competitive market,” Murphy said – a hint, perhaps, that the state could get 4G sooner than the carrier’s list would lead you to believe.

“Bottom line,” he continued, “Rhode Island is an important market to Verizon Wireless, and when we’re ready to share our local LTE plans with customers, and tip our hand to the competition, Ted Nesi and WPRI will be among the first to know.”

Darn tootin’.

(photo: Verizon Wireless)

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  • Jim Donahue

    That’s okay Ted AT&T ( http://www.att.com/network/? click on ‘coverage’ then hover over RI on the map and the coverage will show ) and T-Mobile have HSPA+ here plus Sprint’s 4G through Clear is also here.

    I was also surprised that Verizon skipped us while Boston, Hartford, Springfield and also Worcester(?) get coverage but we’ll get it next year.

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