AT&T begins massive LTE rollout in over 80 new markets

AT&T playing LTE catch-up


AT&T announced today that it's begun a massive 4G LTE rollout that will ultimately see LTE brought to 83 new markets by the end of summer.

That includes six new LTE markets that were just flipped on, plus 77 more to go live in the coming months.

The new markets that are already live include Jackson, Tenn., Kalamazoo, Mo., Napa, Calif., Orangeburg, S.C., Rocky Mount-Wilson, N.C., and Santa Rosa-Petaluma, Calif.

AT&T has really stepped up its 4G LTE efforts lately, though it's still playing catch-up in some ways to other carriers.

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AT&T LTE plans on track?

AT&T reportedly doubled its LTE coverage in 2012, announcing toward the end of last year that it hoped to expand further by 2015.

The carrier's expressed goals included LTE coverage for 250 million customers by the end of 2013 and 300 million by the end of 2014.

With more than 80 new coverage areas announced today, it seems AT&T's LTE coverage could indeed reach those numbers by the end of the year, and a company spokesperson confirmed with TechRadar that the carrier's plans are "on track" in terms of those goals.

Playing catch-up

In any case, AT&T is still playing catch-up to Verizon in at least one way - Verizon still has a much wider LTE net.

With almost 500 LTE markets covered as of last month, Verizon has the most LTE coverage by far in terms of sheer volume.

But AT&T's LTE is still faster, and with 80-plus new markets lighting up this year and Verizon's LTE expansion wrapping up soon that gap is about to get smaller.

T-Mobile, meanwhile, was recently caught testing its new 4G LTE network in a number of major markets, so AT&T and Verizon will likely have even more competition soon enough.