Verizon Wireless CTO David Small made this promise to Dow Jones, as well as upping Verizon's coverage target by 10 million. The carrier now plans to reach 260 million Americans by the end of 2012, Small said. It's pursuing that goal with the launch of seven new markets tomorrow, bringing its current total to 203, a number it will double by the end of the year. The new markets include Dothan and Enterprise, Ala.; Naples, Fla.; Greenville, N.C.; Altus and Durant, Okla.; and Longview/Marshall, Texas. Small told Dow Jones that Alaska would be the only state without LTE before 2013.
Verizon currently offers 10 LTE smartphones, beating out AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s three. According to the NPD Group Inc. , 7 percent of smartphone sales for the entire U.S. market were for LTE devices, and 26 percent of the consumers that bought them were specifically seeking LTE in a handset.
Why this matters
Verizon's commitment to only introducing LTE smartphones for the rest of 2012 caught people's attention because most believe Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) will launch its next iPhone this year, and there's no doubt Verizon will want to carry it. Ergo, the iPhone 5 should include LTE. That is, of course, assuming Verizon's Small knows Apple's plans at this point.
LTE iPhone aside, the statement is notable because only 5 percent of Verizon's customers own LTE phones today, leaving the carrier lots of room to grow. Verizon has had its attention divided by the 3G iPhone, but it is starting to promote LTE more with deals like its double-data offer for LTE devices. If an LTE iPhone is introduced this year, that'll certainly help move the market along as well. (See Verizon Doubles Up on LTE.)
Read up on Verizon's LTE progress below.
- Apple Intros First 4G LTE iPad
- Balancing Faster 4G Data & Tighter Caps
- Verizon Takes LTE to Rural Homes
- Verizon: LTE Is Back
- Mapping LTE: AT&T & Verizon's 4G Footprints
- Verizon LTE Gets Spoofed
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile