Verizon, T-Mobile duel over '4G' coverage expansions

Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) and T-Mobile USA trumpeted the expansion of their respective "4G" networks, with Verizon touting that its LTE network now covers more than half of all Americans and T-Mobile continuing to promote its HSPA+ network as "America's largest 4G network."

Verizon, which first launched LTE service in December 2010, said its LTE network now covers more than 160 million POPs, which is more than half of the U.S. population. The network is available in more than 117 cities, and Verizon expects to cover 175 markets and 185 million POPs with LTE by year-end. Some of the newest markets Verizon turned on include Tucson, Ariz.; Fort Collins, Colo.; Frederick, Md.; Worcester, Mass.; Omaha, Neb./Council Bluffs, Iowa; Albany, Ithaca and Syracuse, N.Y.; Altoona and Johnstown, Pa.; Memphis, Tenn.; and Provo, Utah. Verizon also expanded its LTE coverage in 10 existing markets.

Meanwhile, not to be outdone, T-Mobile pointed out in a fact sheet that its faster HSPA+ 42 network is now available in 152 markets, covering 170 million POPs. T-Mobile has dubbed both its HSPA+ 21 and HSPA+ 42 network expansions as "4G." The company said its network produces speeds on par with LTE, with its phones showing average downlink speeds approaching 5 Mbps with peak speeds of 12 Mbps. Verizon says its LTE network delivers average real-world speeds of 5-12 Mbps.

The companies won't be dueling alone for long. AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) is poised to launch its LTE network later this summer in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. The company expects to deploy LTE across 70 million POPs in 15 markets by year-end. Part of AT&T's proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile will involve AT&T using T-Mobile's 1700 MHz AWS spectrum to deploy LTE.

Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S), meanwhile, continues to resell Clearwire's (NASDAQ:CLWR) mobile WiMAX service under the Sprint 4G brand in 71 markets. Clearwire's network covers around 130 million POPs.

For more:
- see this Verizon release

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Cincinnati Bell joins 4G parade with HSPA+ rollout
T-Mobile takes on LTE with HSPA+ 42 Mbps launch in 55 markets
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