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:
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”)||383||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|
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.
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?)
- AT&T Aims High With 420 LTE Markets
- AT&T LTE to Be 'Substantially Complete' by Summer 2014
- AT&T Moves Again in the Summer of LTE
- Lucky 13: AT&T Adds More 4G LTE
- AT&T's 4G LTE Summer Splurge
- 4G LTE: AT&T Wins on Speed, Verizon on Size
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading