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Verizon LTE to light up in 14 cities, expand in 4

Wed, 11/16/2011 - 4:42pm
Maisie Ramsay, Wireless Week

Verizon Wireless' LTE network will continue to speed ahead of AT&T when it launches in 14 new cities and expands in four existing markets tomorrow.

The Nov. 17 launch brings the total number of Verizon's LTE markets to 179. AT&T will offer LTE in just 15 markets after its planned six-city expansion on Sunday.

The new markets include Little Rock, Ark.; Savannah, Ga.; Cedar Rapids and Des Moines, Iowa; Lexington, Ky.; Starkville, Miss.; Kansas City and Springfield/Branson, Mo.; Lincoln, Neb.; Orange County, N.Y.; Greater Providence, R.I.; Rapid City, S.D.; Roanoke, Va.; and Appleton and Oshkosh, Wis.

Verizon will expand its LTE coverage network in Louisville, Ky.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn.; and Pittsburgh, Pa.

After Thursday's launch, Verizon's LTE network will cover 186 million people less than a year after it was first turned on last December.

By comparison, AT&T's LTE network will cover 70 million people by year-end. However, AT&T stands to benefit from its upgraded HSPA+ network, which offers customers improved speeds, even when they're not within an LTE coverage area.

Verizon plans to blanket its entire 3G footprint with LTE by the end of 2013 and is working with rural operators to get service out to remote areas. It currently sells 16 devices that run on its LTE network, including the new HTC Rezound and Motorola Droid Razr.

Verizon's aggressive LTE push sets it well apart from its competitors. Sprint, currently using Clearwire's WiMAX service, plans to build its own LTE network but won't launch its first commercial markets until halfway through next year. Clearwire also plans to add LTE to its network but has yet to raise the necessary cash to fund the build-out.

MetroPCS' LTE service is hampered by limited spectrum resources and is only available within its 14-city footprint. U.S. Cellular's LTE network is prepped, but it won't come out with LTE devices until the first quarter of next year.

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