US CDMA carrier Verizon Wireless has announced that it is to embark upon a 4G LTE deployment plan in the US, with trials beginning in 2008. Vendors involved in the trial include Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Motorola, Nokia Siemens and Nortel.

Vodafone, a minority but significant stakeholder in Verizon, has publicly declared its technology neutrality going forward. A joint LTE forward plan would settle the long-nagging problem of technology mismatch between the UK firm and its US investment.

This latest announcement shows that Voda is keeping its options open following Vodafone’s decision to take up membership of the WiMAX Forum earlier in the year.

Verizon’s LTE announcement will come as something of a hammer blow to the WiMAX Forum. Its timing – following Sprint and Clearwire’s amicable split, and Sprint’s WiMAX championing CEO Gary Forsee’s┬ádeparture – could not have been worse.