AT&T boosts LTE coverage to 113 markets

Goal is to reach 300 million people with the faster wireless service by the end of 2014

AT&T said it added four new LTE wireless markets on Monday, for a total of 113 markets nationwide.

The four new markets are mid-sized cities: Auburn, Ala., Grand Rapids, Mich., Nashua, N.H., and Wilkes-Barre, Pa. AT&T previously lit up many of the nation's largest cities with the faster wireless service.

The carrier also reported adding another six LTE markets last week.

As of Monday, AT&T said its LTE coverage can reach 160 million people with a goal of reaching 300 million by the end of 2014.

Verizon Wireless has already reached AT&T's goal, and offers LTE in more than 440 cities, making it the largest LTE carrier in the world. Sprint recently said it had reached 43 markets.

LTE coverage is clearly seen as a competitive differentiator by the carriers, although it isn't clear whether one carrier will have significantly faster downloads with LTE once users crowd cell towers with LTE-ready smartphones.

AT&T users have seen 50 Mbps downloads on some new, uncrowded LTE networks, but the average in crowded areas is from 8 Mbps to 12 Mbps on all the carriers.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

See more by Matt Hamblen on Computerworld.com.

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