It may have taken a bit longer than anyone would've liked, but the HTC ThunderBolt finally has an official launch date. Verizon announced this morning that their first LTE-capable smartphone will be arriving on Thursday, March 17th, for $249.99 with a two-year contract. Customers that pick up the TBolt will need to sign up for a minimum of a $39.99 voice plan as well as a $29.99 unlimited 4G data plan. Additionally, Verizon will be giving ThunderBolt owners free access to the Mobile Hotspot feature until May 15th, after which it'll cost $20/2GB per month. The full press release is waiting for you below.
I'm sure that more than a few folks are a bit jaded after all of the ThunderBolt's release date rumors, delays, etc., but the upside here is that not only does 4G data cost the same as 3G data, but owners will also be getting free Mobile Hotspot for two whole months. Plus, it's good to see that the TBolt is priced at $249.99 on contract rather than $299.99. Certainly $199.99 would be ideal, but $250 is still better than $300 right?
UPDATE: Best Buy has announced that it, too, will be offering the ThunderBolt beginning March 17th for $249.99. The difference is that BBY will only be selling the TBolt for $250 through Saturday, March 19th. Beginning on Sunday, March 20th, that price will go up to $299.99, like the previous leaks showed.
THE THUNDERBOLT™ BY HTC, THE FIRST 4G LTE SMARTPHONE FOR VERIZON WIRELESS ARRIVES MARCH 17
ThunderBolt™ by HTC Available Beginning March 17
BASKING RIDGE, N.J. – Verizon Wireless and HTC today announced that the ThunderBolt™ by HTC, exclusively from Verizon Wireless, is available on March 17 in Verizon Wireless Communications Stores and online at www.verizonwireless.com for $249.99 with a new two-year customer agreement.
Powered by Android™ 2.2, the ThunderBolt by HTC is the first smartphone to take advantage of Verizon Wireless’ 4G LTE network. The ThunderBolt by HTC features the latest version of the HTC Sense™ experience, which offers enhancements including new personalization options, a consolidated e-mail inbox, and unique camera effects and filters. The ThunderBolt by HTC is equipped with support for Google Mobile Services, including Gmail™, YouTube™ and Android Market™ with thousands of free apps. Additionally, the ThunderBolt by HTC will feature 4G LTE optimized apps such as EA’s Rock Band, Gameloft’s Let’s Golf, Tunewiki and Bitbop.
4G LTE – customers can expect download speeds of 5 to 12 Mbps and upload speeds of 2 to 5 Mbps in 4G Mobile Broadband coverage area
4.3” WVGA display
8- megapixel rear facing camera and HD (720p) video recording
1.3- megapixel front facing camera with video chatting capabilities
Newest generation of the 1GHz Snapdragon processor
Mobile Hotspot capability – share 4G connection with up to eight Wi-Fi-enabled devices
8 GB of onboard memory and a pre-installed 32 GB microSD card (Actual formatted capacity will be less)
Built-in kickstand for easy media viewing
With the ThunderBolt by HTC, customers will need to subscribe to a Verizon Wireless Nationwide Talk plan and a 4G LTE data package. Nationwide Talk plans begin at $39.99 monthly access and an unlimited 4G LTE data plan is $29.99 monthly access.
Mobile Hotspot allows users to connect up to eight Wi-Fi-enabled devices to the nation’s fastest wireless network via an application available on the ThunderBolt by HTC. Mobile Hotspot will be included through May 15 for no additional charge. After May 15, customers may choose to activate Mobile Hotspot for $20 for 2 GB of data per month. Customers can track their data usage by downloading the My Verizon app available in Android Market or by logging on to their My Verizon accounts online at www.verizonwireless.com/myverizon.
For additional information on Verizon Wireless 4G LTE visit www.verizonwireless.com/4glte. For more information about the ThunderBolt by HTC please visit www.verizonwireless.com/thunderbolt. For additional information on Verizon Wireless products and services, visit a Verizon Wireless Communications Store, call 1-800-2 JOIN IN or go to www.verizonwireless.com.
Best Buy® Confirms March 17 Availability for the HTC ThunderBolt 4G
MINNEAPOLIS, March 15, 2011 – Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) today confirmed that the HTC ThunderBolt 4G will be available to the public beginning March 17 in all Best Buy, Best Buy Mobile standalone stores and online at www.bestbuy.com/mobile. The HTC ThunderBolt 4G, a national retail exclusive for Best Buy, will be offered at a special launch price of $249.99 through Saturday, March 19, including all pre-orders. Beginning March 20, the price will be $299.99.
“The HTC ThunderBolt has generated a lot of excitement for us since it was announced,” said Scott Anderson, head of merchandising for Best Buy Mobile. “Customers have already spoken loud and clear – people want this phone, and we’re excited to deliver it on March 17.”
Best Buy Mobile has rapidly become a leading destination for mobile technology purchases with the most smart phones under one roof, and one of the largest selections of carriers, handsets and accessories available anywhere. In addition, Best Buy Mobile offers an array of services aimed at improving the mobile phone buying experience, including:
Upgrade Checker: A quick and easy service that gives customers the ability to see when they are eligible for their next phone upgrade. When the upgrade time is nearing, customers receive a complimentary reminder call, e-mail or text message.
Walk Out Working™: Free in-store smart phone setup by a Best Buy Mobile Phone Specialist who will sync personal email accounts, set up Bluetooth headsets, transfer contacts and activate other services to allow the customer to leave the store with a fully functional new smart phone.
Buy Back: Consumers can take advantage of the new Buy Back Program, which provides convenient access to upgrades with the help of a Best Buy gift card from “buying back” past purchases. Click here for more information on how customers can utilize the Buy Back Program when purchasing a smart phone like the HTC ThunderBolt.