Verizon Wireless will begin offering faster 4G network service in the Columbia region on Thursday, a move that should mean faster downloads for tablets and smartphones.
T-Mobile is the only other of the Big Four wireless carriers that offers 4G service in the Columbia area. AT&T Wireless, which does not offer the faster services in the Midlands, has agreed to buy T-Mobile.
Verizon's 4G service is 10 times faster than 3G technology, spokeswoman Karen Schulz said.
A full-length movie that takes an hour to download on a 3G network will take a few minutes on 4G, she said. Books also will take a matter of seconds to download.
Customers will need to buy hardware that is 4G capable to access the faster network.
Verizon offers air cards and mobile hot spots that can access the 4G network. The company also has a smartphone, HTC's Thunderbolt, and a tablet, Motorola's Xoom, that are 4G capable. They rollover to 3G service if the 4G network is unavailable.