Verizon’s LTE launches in 6 new markets, now available in nearly 500 U.S. locations

Verizon 4G LTE coverage 20130520

Verizon’s aggressive 4G LTE network roll-out continues unabated. The nation’s leading wireless carrier on Monday announced six new markets getting its speedy fourth-generation Long-Term Evolution (LTE) radio technology today: Durango, Colorado; Corbin and Madisonville, Kentucky; Adrian and Mount Pleasant, Michigan; and Marietta, Ohio.

The carrier, for the first time, released a list of LTE-enabled locations which with today’s additions counts 497 markets, up from 440 locations Verizon claimed last December. The big red carrier’s LTE network is now two and a half years old, for those wondering. If all goes according to plan, Verizon should cover its 3G network entirely with LTE by the middle of this year…

Among other tidbits:

  • the Verizon 4G LTE network is now available to more than 287 million people
  • 95 percent of Verizon’s 3G network has been upgraded to LTE
  • approximately 40 percent of Verizon’s smartphones are LTE-enabled
  • some 63 percent of all smart devices Verizon carries have 4G LTE
  • more than fifty percent of data traffic on the Verizon network is LTE

The full list of Verizon’s LTE locations is available here.

Rival AT&T is second to Verizon when it comes to 4G LTE deployment. Just last Friday, the carrier flipped the switch on LTE in Laramie and Elizabethtown. AT&T claims its LTE now covers more than 292 million people and is planning to blanket 300 million people with LTE coverage by the end of 2014.

Last month, the company posted a list of markets getting LTE by the end of summer.

The #3 Sprint a month ago announced LTE availability in 21 new markets and published a list of locations where its LTE was available as of April 18. Last Friday, Sprint successfully closed its previously announced transactiom to buy U.S. Cellular‘s spectrum and 420,000 users for $480 million.

The deal is expected to significantly increase Sprint’s network capacity and improve the customer experience in several important Midwest markets including Chicago and St. Louis.

T-Mobile USA, the nation’s fourth-largest telco, has only recently begun deploying LTE and though it plans to leapfrog its competitors with three times faster LTE Advanced, right now they have LTE towers in just seven cities (with LTE sightings in New York City, Detroit and Minneapolis).

T-Mobile’s next group of LTE launches rumored for May and June allegedly includes two dozen new markets (TMoNews has the full breakdown).

All told, T-Mobile thinks it will blanket a hundred million people with LTE by the end of the summer and 200 million by the end of the year.

According to Deutsche Bank analysts, the carrier’s accelerated LTE build-out continues to steal momentum from Sprint and could help it emerge as the primary challenger to AT&T and Verizon.

As for T-Mobile-owned MetroPCS‘s expansion into fifteen new markets, it could add another five million new customers in the next 2-3 years.

If you ask either Rootmetrics or Consumer Reports, AT&T’s 4G LTE network is the fastest and most reliable of all major U.S. telcos, with Verizon ruling the nation’s LTE coverage.

To learn more, check out 4G LTE coverage maps of Verizon, SprintAT&T and T-Mobile.