AT&T has confirmed that its Long Term Evolution (LTE) network has now gone live in St Louis, Missouri, bringing the carrier’s nationwide coverage to 32 cities. AT&T has also announced the expansion of its LTE coverage to Staten Island, New York, which means that all five of the city’s boroughs now have access to AT&T’s 4G network. Other new markets scheduled for connectivity this spring include: New Orleans, and Baton Rouge (both Louisiana); Naples (Florida); Akron, Canton and Cleveland (all Ohio) and Lafayette (Indiana). The launches are provisionally scheduled to take place in April-May, but provisional rollout dates may be extended until the early summer.
Meanwhile AT&T’s chief rival Verizon Wireless has announced the expansion of its existing LTE network in a number of new cities across California and Nevada. Locations set to benefit from improved coverage include: Fresno, Sacramento, the San Francisco Bay Area, Modesto, Salinas and Monterey, Stockton, San Luis Obispo and Bakersfield (all California) and Reno (Nevada). In addition, Verizon has inaugurated its LTE network in Visalia, which is situated in the heart of California’s agricultural San Joaquin Valley.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, AT&T launched LTE services slightly behind schedule, on 18 September 2011, in Dallas-Forth Worth, San Antonio, Houston, Atlanta and Chicago. Whilst AT&T’s rollout plans are far more modest than those of its chief rival Verizon, which currently offers coverage of 203 markets, in June 2011 Ralph de la Vega, CEO of AT&T Mobility, said that he predicted that LTE coverage would catch up with Verizon’s within ‘two or three years’.