Light Reading

AT&T Close to 400 Live 4G LTE Markets

Dan Jones

AT&T added more markets to its LTE deployment Wednesday, bringing it close to 400 markets and making the year-end target of 420 look easily within its grasp.

The markets AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) had added today are:

  • Vidalia, Ga.
  • Waycross, Ga.
  • Murray, Ky.
  • Alexandria, La.
  • Rolla, Mo.
  • Columbus, Miss.
  • Yazoo City, Miss.
  • Albemarle, N.C.
  • Greenville, N.C.
  • Morehead City, N.C.
  • Sandusky, Ohio
  • Morristown, Tenn.
  • Abilene, Texas
  • Logan, Utah

"Our new total LTE market count is 397, covering 225 million people," a spokesman for AT&T tells us.

Here's how all the operators now stack up for 4G LTE:

Table 1: 4G LTE Markets in the U.S.

Operator 4G technology Number of markets Average download speeds
AT&T LTE (Also markets HSPA+ as “4G”) 397 Average of 18.6 Mbit/s downloads
Cricket (Leap Wireless) LTE 11 3-to-15 times faster than Leap's 3G
C-Spire LTE 40 markets up; 3 more coming soon Data speeds up to 10 times faster
MetroPCS LTE 30 markets 2 Mbit/s-15 Mbit/s (Depending on market)
Sprint LTE & WiMax 151 LTE; 71 WiMax Average of 10.3 Mbit/s download
T-Mobile LTE (Also markets HSPA+ as “4G”) 116 markets Average of 25 Mbit/s downloads (on unloaded network)
U.S. Cellular LTE 30+ markets Up to 10 times faster than 3G
Verizon Wireless LTE 500 markets 14.3 Mbit/s average download
Sources: Light Reading, carrier data, OpenSignal, RootMetrics

Why this matters
At this pace, AT&T should easily beat its stated target of 420 markets covered with 4G LTE by the end of 2013. The number to watch, however, might instead be the number of potential customers covered. Even as AT&T has added more than 20 new small markets in August and early September, its estimate of people covered hasn't budged from 225 million.

Related posts:

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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User Rank: Blogger
9/5/2013 | 2:29:47 PM
Coverage, capacity and smooth handoffs are going to be the challenge for all the major carriers, particularly if they want to promote LTE as a reliable connected for Connected Car projects. It means a build out at a scale we didn't see with 3G, at least in the US.
User Rank: Moderator
9/5/2013 | 1:39:21 PM
I often drive from LA to Vegas on I-15.  Often I hit ATT "Edge" on my iPhone, or even "no service".  This has been ongoing for years. In SoCal, my iPhone keeps flipping around from regular ATT, to 4G to LTE.  That 4G ATT is their HSPA+ 3.5G.  When I go to a major sporting event in the LA area, some venue like Dodger Stadium,  forget about ATT being able to handle the connections at any level.  Phone keeps churning to connect.  I would say that there is overall improvement with my LA ATT experience, but it is still definitely a work in progress.  
User Rank: Blogger
9/4/2013 | 11:31:25 PM
Re: Can you think of any big cities left?
Nonetheless, that's what they've promised.
User Rank: Light Sabre
9/4/2013 | 8:01:51 PM
Re: Can you think of any big cities left?
300 million seems unrealistic as a coverage goal. Total US population is about 315 million, and about 55 million live in "rural" areas. Realistically at this point, it will take at least 20 new markets to push the needle up by 1 million. Still, the rollout rate is impressive.
User Rank: Blogger
9/4/2013 | 6:57:43 PM
Can you think of any big cities left?
Can you think of any big cities left for AT&T? They have a few more to go to hit the 300M mark.
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