If you wanted a 4G phone in 2010, you'd be buying a WiMax or HSPA handset that was lucky to get 5 Mbps download speeds. In 2011, Verizon changed the game with the HTC Thunderbolt, the first phone to run on the carrier's LTE network. In short order, the carrier had more than half a dozen Android phones running on LTE, while our nationwide 4G tests showed the carrier's network trouncing AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile with average speeds of 12.3 Mbps down and 4.7 Mbps up across five cities.
Later in the year, AT&T launched its own LTE network in 15 cities and delivered its set of LTE phones, including the LG Nitro. Sprint also committed to replacing its WiMax network with LTE by the end of 2012.