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Carriers put the finishing touches on their 2012 LTE rollouts

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As the final weeks of the year dwindle away, Verizon Wireless(s vz)(s vod), AT&T(s t) and Sprint(s s) are tweaking their 4G footprints one final time before wrapping up their 2012 LTE network rollouts. Verizon will launch LTE in in 29 small cities on Thursday, while AT&T and Sprint each lit up a half dozen new markets each this week.

Verizon long ago finished building out its network in the major metro markets, so its expansion is now making its way to smaller bergs. The new markets are:

Selma, Ala.; Flagstaff, Prescott and Yuma, Ariz.; Eureka, Calif.; Burlington, Marshalltown, Mason City and Oskaloosa, Iowa; Ashland, Ky.; Bangor and Lewiston/Auburn, Maine; Menominee and Petoskey, Mich.; McComb/Brookhaven, Miss.; Cape Girardeau, Mo.; Hastings and McCook, Neb.; Farmington, Gallup and Roswell, N.M.; Portsmouth, Ohio; Muskogee, Okla.; Klamath Falls and Roseburg, Ore.; Sumter, S.C.; Tri Cities and Port Angeles, Wash.; and Clarksburg, W.Va.

Verizon also said it has expanded its LTE footprint in 36 existing markets from Los Angeles to Cleveland. In total, its 4G service was available in 440 markets, and at its last official count in October the network touched more than 250 million people. Verizon’s end of year of year goal is 260 million people covered, so its either pretty close to its target or has already reached it.

ATT-4G-LTE-LogoAT&T added LTE coverage in Green Bay, Wis.; Springfield, Mass.; Tucson, Ariz.; Melbourne, Fla.; and Oxford, Miss.; and it expanded its current 4G footprint in Los Angeles, Phoenix, New York and Salt Lake City. Its network is now in 125 markets, so it’s already well past its goal of 100 markets in 2012. In addition Ma Bell also expanded its Wi-Fi data network in Chicago, adding shopping mecca Michigan Avenue to its growing number of outdoor Wi-Fi hotzones.

Sprint launched announced two major launches earlier this week: Chicago and Indianapolis. Sprint had already seeded Chicago’s suburbs with 4G towers, but on Wednesday the city proper went live. In addition, it turned on networks in Santa Rosa/Petaluma and Vallejo/Fairfield, Calif.; in southern Puerto Rico; York/Hanover, and Franklin County, Pa.

Sprint’s LTE network is now in 49 markets, so it’s well behind its two larger competitors. But Sprint says work is going on in hundreds of cities and in the coming months it will triple the number of cities and towns where LTE is available.

11 Responses to “Carriers put the finishing touches on their 2012 LTE rollouts”

  1. Tim Davies

    The problem with ATT’s wifi network is that it is not seamless. It’s actually very annoying! My phone will connect to it, and I will not have any data for notifications because it’s waiting for me to agree to the terms of use before it can be used. Mean while it’s blocking my cellular data. So if I don’t do anything, I miss out on notifications while I am in range of the hotspot. DUMB. it should be able to detect that you are an ATT customer/phone and connect automatically with no terms of use to agree to…you already agreed to them as a customer!!

  2. Andrew J Shepherd

    VZW certainly has a sizable LTE lead. But I have to wonder if that advantage will soon turn into a disadvantage. VZW is reportedly deploying LTE 750 only on selected sites to maintain its current coverage footprint, not its current coverage density. Moreover, VZW is still using ground based radios, while AT&T and Sprint are both using antenna mounted radios. In other words, VZW’s LTE deployment is moving along more quickly because it is not necessarily comparable in extent to its rivals LTE deployments, certainly not comparable to Sprint’s Network Vision complete network renovation.


    • Kevin Fitchard

      Hey AJ,

      Good to hear from you. All good points, but I also think VZ’s 1-2 year lead has a lot to do with it as well.:) In your measurements do you find VZ’s LTE network that spotty, or at least spottier than AT&T’s of Sprint’s? Just from my own experience and from others’ reports I got the impression that AT&T wasn’t deploying at density either.

      • Eddie Russell

        Whereas TMo is basically deloying at density and when you do fall out you’ll be on high speed modern ‘4G’ H+ network (unlike the others) since they are basically getting rid of 2G (not entirely yet, but soon)

      • Kevin Fitchard

        Hi Eddie,

        How do you know T-Mo will deploy at density? It hasn’t even started deploying LTE yet. It has to refarm a good portion of AWS before it can even start. I agree they’ll have one hell of a fallback network (dual-carrier HSPA+ no less), but that isn’t an indication that it will replicate LTE at every cell site from the start, right?