AT&T Continues to Roll Out 4G LTE to More Cities

Grand Rapids, Mich., Nashua, N.H., and Wilkes-Barre, Pa., are among the latest communities to get AT&T's 4G LTE service.

AT&T has added four more towns in the United States to its growing list of communities that now feature high-speed 4G LTE wireless service.

In a Dec. 10 announcement, AT&T unveiled the high-speed wireless capabilities for Auburn-Opelika (Birmingham), Ala.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Nashua, N.H.; and Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

The additions mean that AT&T's 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) services are now live in 113 markets, according to the company. AT&T's network covers areas of the country, where more than 285 million people live. Company officials said they expect to cover areas where more than 300 million people live by the end of 2014. AT&T offers a range of smartphones and tablets that are compatible with 4G LTE, including the Sony Xperia TL, LG Optimus G, Samsung Galaxy S III, Motorola ATRIX HD, HTC One X, Nokia Lumia 920, Samsung Galaxy Note II, HTC One X+, Samsung ATIV smart PC and ASUS VivoTab RT.

It was the second time in a week that AT&T announced more 4G LTE cities. On Dec. 3, San German-Cabo Rojo, Guayama and Yauco in Puerto Rico got the high-speed services, as well as Salt Lake City, Utah; Reading, Pa.; and Albuquerque, N.M.

Several dozen more American cities were added in November, including South Bend, Ind.; El Paso, Texas; Corvallis, Ore.; Toledo, Ohio; Charleston, S.C.; Portland, Ore.; Saratoga Springs, N.Y.; Denver; Provo, Utah; Milwaukee; York, Pa.; Daytona Beach, Fla.; Tacoma, Wash.; Bakersfield, Calif.; and Pensacola, Fla.

The expansion in 4G LTE service has been going like gangbusters all year and was fueled even more recently by the September release of Apple's latest iPhone 5, which for the first time can operate on the new high-speed network.

That's also meant new business for AT&T competitor Verizon Wireless, which is also busy expanding its 4G LTE services to new markets.

Sprint, which has for years offered 4G in the form of WiMax technology, has also begun an LTE network rollout. While it currently offers LTE in 19 metropolitan areas, by the end of the year, it will expand that to 100 new markets, including Boston, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia and Washington D.C.

Sprint currently offers LTE in 19 metropolitan areas. Its 100 new markets will include Boston; Charlotte, N.C.; Chicago; Indianapolis; Los Angeles; Memphis, Tenn.; Miami; Nashville, Tenn; New Orleans; New York; Philadelphia; and Washington D.C. The full list-from Aguadilla-Isabela-San Sebastian, Puerto Rico, to Yauco, Puerto Rico-is available on the Sprint Website.

While Sprint was the first major carrier to offer 4G, by way of WiMax technology, it was the last to offer LTE. By the end of 2013, however, Sprint plans to have its build-out completed. Along with the closure of its iDen network, its Network Vision initiative—as its network strategy is known—is the carrier's pressing priority.

Indeed, Sprint says that customers with 4G-enabled devices may see LTE coverage in their areas before the networks are officially launched "and are welcome to use the network."

Sprint also lags behind AT&T and Verizon in its efforts to build up its iPhone base—a lucrative group of users and ones less likely than others to churn, according to reports from the carriers. But in this, too, it's gaining ground.