AT&T to expand LTE coverage to 12 more markets

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AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) said it will extend its LTE network coverage to 12 additional markets starting next month, which would bring its total coverage to at least 40 markets.

AT&T's LTE coverage map shows a number of locations as "coming soon."

AT&T said that starting in April and extending into May and "early summer" it will bring LTE service to the following markets: Cleveland, Akron and Canton, Ohio; Naples, Fla.; Bloomington, Lafayette and Muncie, Ind.; Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Lou.; St. Louis; Bryan-College Station, Texas; and Staten Island, N.Y. AT&T did not provide specific rollout dates for each of the markets, nor did the carrier say by how many POPs its LTE coverage would grow. Collectively, the markets have more than 2.36 million people, according to U.S. Census data.

The LTE market expansion comes after AT&T proclaimed via new marketing that it has the nation's largest 4G network. The carrier's argument rests on AT&T's combined LTE and HSPA+ network with enhanced backhaul. AT&T's LTE network currently covers 74 million POPs in 28 markets and its HSPA+21 network covers more than 200 million POPs.

AT&T's effort at rebranding its network is notable considering both Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) and T-Mobile USA also tout their respective networks as the largest 4G networks in the country. AT&T's claim is also somewhat ironic in that AT&T chided T-Mobile in 2010 for claiming its HSPA+ network was "4G." Verizon's LTE network now covers more than 200 million POPs. T-Mobile's HSPA+ 21 network covers 217 markets and more than 200 million POPs and its HSPA+42 network covers 175 markets and 184 million POPs. Meanwhile, Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S), which offers mobile WiMAX service via Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR), also calls its service 4G and covers 130 million POPs.

For more:
- see this PhoneDog post
- see this Phone Scoop post

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