Verizon Wireless on Monday named 25 more localities, mainly in Illinois and other Midwestern states, that will get its 4G LTE service on Sept. 15.
The carrier could be racing to set up network support for the coming iPhone 5, which is rumored to support 4G LTE, according to some bloggers. Verizon would not comment on that speculation, however, referring questions about the iPhone to Apple instead.
"We're aggressive in the deployment of 4G LTE because we have a huge first-to-market advantage -- more than a year -- over what AT&T says it's going to be building eventually," said the Verizon spokesman Jeffrey Nelson, in an email.
"Our customers are using LTE big time," he added. "They love the speed and huge latency improvements. LTE is extremely efficient in carrying data."
Less than a week ago, Verizon said it had added 15 more cities to its LTE footprint. At the time, the company boasted that it had made LTE service available in 117 cities and to half the U.S. population, with LTE reaching 160 million Americans. Verizon's LTE network supports download speeds of 5Mbps to 12Mbps and upload speeds of 2Mbps to 5Mbps.
The 25 added locations named on Monday were listed in several press releases for each different area, bringing the total to 142 cities and regions. Also Monday, Verizon said it would expand coverage in Cleveland on Sept. 15 and in another city to be named later.
Last week, Verizon had expanded LTE in 10 cities, including areas near San Francisco.
Among the locales that will receive the 4G LTE service starting Sept. 15, Verizon named the central Illinois region, including Bloomington/Normal and Champaign/Urbana, as well as Rockford and the Quad Cities on the Illinois-Iowa border.
Other cities getting the service include Iowa City, Fargo, N.D., Moorhead, Minn., and Canton and Mansfield, Ohio. Nelson said the added areas represent 25 markets, as defined by Verizon. In comparison, AT&T is supposed to launch LTE service in 15 markets by year's end.
Verizon already supports LTE on several smartphones and other devices, so customers will be able to use the 4G service even if the iPhone 5 doesn't support it. LTE-ready smartphones include Samsung's Droid Charge, the LG Revolution and the HTC ThunderBolt. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 also supports 4G LTE.
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 email@example.com.