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Fall Into 4G: LTE State-of-Play in the USAFall Into 4G: LTE State-of-Play in the USA

A snapshot of where we're at with 4G, as LTE-Advanced and VoLTE come into view.

Dan Jones

September 3, 2013

3 Min Read
Fall Into 4G: LTE State-of-Play in the USA

The road to LTE-Advanced, 4G voice, and denser wireless data coverage is going to be a hotter topic in the US as we move into fall with 4G.

Here's where the major US carriers stand with live LTE markets now:


4G technology

Number of markets

Average download speeds


LTE (Also markets HSPA+ as "4G")


Average of 18.6 Mbit/s downloads

Cricket (Leap Wireless)



3-to-15 times faster than Leap's 3G



40 markets up; 3 more coming soon

Data speeds up to 10 times faster



30 markets

2 Mbit/s-15 Mbit/s (Depending on market)


LTE & WiMax

151 LTE; 71 WiMax

Average of 10.3 Mbit/s download


LTE (Also markets HSPA+ as "4G")

116 markets

Average of 25 Mbit/s downloads (on unloaded network)

U.S. Cellular


30+ markets

Up to 10 times faster than 3G

Verizon Wireless


500 markets

14.3 Mbit/s average download

Sources: Light Reading, carrier data, OpenSignal, RootMetrics

Verizon Wireless has now covered its 3G footprint with 4G LTE technology. AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), meanwhile, has just launched 13 new markets, bringing it to 383 markets live and 225 potential subscribers covered.

Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) and T-Mobile US Inc. are snapping at the big dogs' heels with 151 markets and 116 markets respectively.

What's coming?
The arrival of more widespread voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) and the first networks with LTE-Advanced features are going to be among the key tech topics in the last three months of this year. (See: Verizon Promises Voice-Over-LTE in 2014.)

If VoLTE is to work properly, operators are also going to have to look at deeper density for LTE coverage. Many, many of the LTE markets now live do not have 100 percent coverage -- or even close to it. (See: When is a 4G LTE Market Really Covered, Anyway?)

For more

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Dan Jones

Mobile Editor

Dan is to hats what Will.I.Am is to ridiculous eyewear. Fedora, trilby, tam-o-shanter -- all have graced the Jones pate during his career as the go-to purveyor of mobile essentials.

But hey, Dan is so much more than 4G maps and state-of-the-art headgear. Before joining the Light Reading team in 2002 he was an award-winning cult hit on Broadway (with four 'Toni' awards, two 'Emma' gongs and a 'Brian' to his name) with his one-man show, "Dan Sings the Show Tunes."

His perfectly crafted blogs, falling under the "Jonestown" banner, have been compared to the works of Chekhov. But only by Dan.

He lives in Brooklyn with cats.

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