Where do the nation's Tier 1 carriers sit in the race to 4G?

Mobile broadband is clearly exploding. Verizon Wireless, in the midst of deploying its LTE network, is running to catch up with Clearwire, which is pushing mobile WiMAX into more markets while at the same time working to fund the rest of its buildout (to the benefit of Sprint Nextel). Meanwhile, AT&T Mobility is accelerating its own LTE plans while at the same time building out a HSPA 7.2 upgrade. And T-Mobile USA, long the laggard in 3G, may actually eek out a lead with an upgrade to HSPA+ sometime next year.

Thus, it appears to be an equipment supplier's dream market, with four nationwide carriers racing to build out the biggest and best network technology--all in an effort to satiate skyrocketing demand for mobile data.

Indeed, the news on the network deployment front is coming so fast and furious it's worth taking a step back and checking where each of the nation's Tier 1 wireless carriers sit on the path to 4G. Along these lines, FierceWireless put together a snapshot of the current mobile broadband spread in the United States.

Click here to check it out.

(What's interesting to note is that in just a few year's time, American cell phone users may well be able to choose from among two or three--or more?--4G networks, each providing speeds comparable to today's wired broadband networks. Neato.) --Mike