Verizon to complete LTE network by mid-2013

With more and more devices coming to market supporting 4G LTE (long term evolution) networks, people are paying more attention to carriers’ LTE coverage. And here in the States, no body comes close to Verizon.

With more than a year head start over the other providers, Verizon is the leader in LTE coverage by a mile. It currently has the 4G tech in more than 400 markets, and it sounds like it’ll be everywhere by next summer…

FierceWireless points to some comments made by Verizon Wireless CFO Fran Shamo today during the the Wells Fargo Securities Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in New York City, New York:

“Verizon Wireless  will  finish its LTE deployment by the middle of 2013, according to Verizon Communications CFO Fran Shammo. The timeline is about six months earlier than Verizon has previously stated. Executives had said the company would match its 3G CDMA footprint with LTE coverage by the end of 2013…

…Shammo said after some early hiccups (Verizon’s LTE network had four major service disruptions in 2011), the LTE network is stable and reliable. “You can see that people are massively migrating to that network,” he said. The company ended the third quarter with 14.9 million postpaid LTE devices on its network. Around 35 percent of the carrier’s overall data traffic traveled over its LTE network at the end of September.”

As of right now, Verizon’s LTE network now covers close to 80 percent of the U.S. population — some 250 million people. And the carrier hopes to extend that to at least another 10 million people by the end of the year.

In comparison, AT&T, who only started rolling out its LTE network last fall, is currently in about 75 markets, covering 140 million people. And it says it doesn’t think it will be finished with its rollout until late 2014.

Sprint is even further behind, having just launched its LTE network this summer. It’s currently only in a handful of markets, but that could change quickly thanks to its Softbank-Clearwire-US Cellular deal.