Drumbeat of AT&T LTE launches goes on

Carrier adds seven mid-level U.S. markets, making it 11 for the week and 120 markets overall

AT&T is putting the pedal to the metal on its LTE deployments, saying Thursday it has added seven more markets to its list, atop of the four market launches it had announced three days earlier.

The carrier now offers LTE service in 120 markets.

The seven markets announced today are Reno, Nev., Richmond, Va., Allentown-Bethlehem, Pa., Hattiesburg and Starkville, Miss., Moscow, Idaho and Pullman, Wash.

The steady drumbeat of AT&T LTE launch announcements this month is partly designed to help the carrier sell more of its LTE-ready phones during the critical holiday buying season, analysts said.

Those LTE devices sold by the carrier include top selling smartphones Apple's iPhone 5 and the Android-based Samsung Galaxy S III.

In addition to the two LTE announcements this week, AT&T had announced six new markets on Dec. 3.

AT&T is trying to catch up with Verizon Wireless, the first carrier to launch LTE deployments in the U.S. Verizon now has the largest LTE network on the globe, with the technology available in more than 440 cities.

Sprint recently declared it had deployed LTE in 43 markets.

Most average download speeds on LTE average 8 Mbps to 12 Mbps across various carriers, once individual cell towers are crowded with users. In early deployments, some AT&T customers have have told Computerworld they have seen download speeds over LTE of 50 Mbps.

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 e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

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