Verizon Wireless phones (falsely) show 4G phone service in Palm Springs

Verizon Wireless customers across the Coachella Valley noticed a 4G indicator replace “3G” across the top of their phones and tablets this week (like this one, from reader Alan Flanary):

It prompted a stream of tweets and emails from Desert Sun readers who were pleasantly surprised to have 4G service — a faster and more powerful service for cell phones and other mobile connections.

False alarm, claims Verizon.

Verizon Wireless spokesman Ken Muche responded Wednesday to my inquiry:

We haven’t officially launched our 4G LTE service in Palm Springs, so I don’t have any news for you on that front.  If things change, I will definitely make sure that we get you all the info you need.

Verizon Wireless maps show 4G LTE available in 371 cities — but not in this part of Southern California.

Flashback to early this year, when AT&T customers first saw the 4G logo pop up in their phone’s status bar:

That was merely a label change that didn’t actually mean users had 4G speed. (We asked an AT&T spokesman about it Wednesday but haven’t heard back.)

UPDATE: I sent an email to Muche on Thursday morning to ask him about the possibility of a silent or soft launch. I’ll update here if he responds.

Let me know below or via Twitter @TDSKateM if you’ve noticed the 4G indicator and, if so, if you think it’s really the faster service.