"I am impressed that Verizon's network can support live streaming from a PVR. Would be nice to get that kind of HSUPA bandwidth in London."
Well, Verizon's not a GSM carrier, they are using CDMA (for voice, and EDGE-style low speed data fallback) and EVDO (for 3G, data only). EVDO looks antiquated on paper -- 3.1mbps down, 1.8mbps up peak. But, it's pretty common to actually CONSISTENTLY get 50% of this peak.
Partially VZW spends huge wads of cash on their network (adding backhaul, adding additional capacity, they are pretty careful about network tuning).
Partially, since the CDMA and EVDO channels are only 1.25mhz down and 1.25mhz up, they can fire up another EVDO channel more easily.. for instance, with 20mhz of spectrum, they have room for 8 channels total. Since HSPA uses a 5mhz width, a GSM carrier with 20mhz has a choice of all GSM/EDGE, 1 channel of HSPA and the rest GSM, or 2 channels of HSPA but having to shut down GSM/EDGE entirely. (In reality, the likes of VZW or AT&T have more like 60mhz of 850mhz + 1900mhz in big cities, but it still makes things easier).
And partially, to be honest, Qualcomm has crack engineers, they are good about considering real-world RF conditions and not just ideal lab conditions.
VZW's now rolling out LTE in the 700mhz band. Peak speeds of 60mb/sec; of course nobody gets that speed, but I've seen a couple speed tests of 35-40mbps (uncommon though), some at about 25mbps, and plenty at 15-20mbps. Worst case seems to be 6-10mbps. VZW did tests under load, and say to expect 5-12mbps. Since this is pretty new I seriously doubt the PD is using LTE already. Obviously, that'd stream a DVR pretty easily.