Verizon Wireless has announced the official date of its 4G network launch in the U.S., boasting it will be 10 times faster than 3G.

In a press conference, Verizon said th 4G network will go live on Dec. 5. The company said 38 metropolitan areas across the U.S. and 60 commercial airports, or roughly one-third of the country, will have access to the new network. Tony Melone, senior vice president and chief technical officer of Verizon Wireless, said it will initially cover the I-95 eastern corridor and the west coast.

Obviously we are not stopping there, we have an aggressive plan to cover the entire 3G footprint by 2013, Melone said. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

The 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network will be ten times faster than the 3G offering it has now. Melone said 10 MB of data will be able to be downloaded in less than 10 seconds, with download speeds of 5-12 Mps downloador 2-5 Mps if the network is busy. There will be 700 MHz of spectrum on the network. Either way, the network will be a lot faster than the current offering.

Another way to think about it is if you were able to shorten the flight time from New York City to Tokyo from 10 hours to 80 minutes, Melone said. When the Android network teamed up with Verizon, it became an extremely successful operating system. I think the same thing will happen with the LTE network.

Verizon also expects the 4G LTE network, which will primarily be used for data, to enhance its 3G network, which will carry voice calls. The new network was built alongside the 3G network, and as more people use the 4G network, Melone says it will open up room on the 3G. The company also said it expects users to have no problems switching between networks.

The company also  altered its data plan prices. For a $50 monthly fee, users will be provided 5 GB of data. An additional $30 per month will give users an additional 5 GB.

There will be no limits. If they want to use more data, they will have a chance to do so with $10 per additional [gigabyte] of data used, Melone said, but added most users would likely fit into the initial 5 GB pricing plan. When we look at the capabilities of this network, we believe a significant number of customers will embrace the network and its capabilities whereby five gigs will be enough for their particular usage.

Verizon also announced two new 4G capable devices.  There will be the LG VL600 which will be available at launch, and the Pantech UML290, available soon. By the middle of next year, Melone expects more 4G capable devices.