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AT&T amps up its 4G LTE network

Ma Bell beefs up its plans to offer fast 4G LTE cellular service nationwide, now in 11 more regions, including parts of New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

Verizon may have been the first to roll out a blazing 4G cellular network using LTE technology but AT&T is hot on Big Red's heels. Today the carrier announced it now has expanded its own LTE service to 11 new markets now covering New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

This brings the total number of regions under the carrier's LTE umbrella to 26 and comes as great news for loyal AT&T customers frustrated with the carrier's much-maligned infrastructure. It's also a harbinger for possibly some hot new LTE 4G equipped handsets to hit AT&T perhaps as soon as CES 2012 next week.

What will also put a spring in the step of AT&T users is the speed of its network, which our Jessica Dolcourt clocked in San Francisco at data download rates of 14 to 15 Mbps, peaking at times to a blistering 30Mbps. Watch out, Verizon, that's on par with your vaunted airwaves.

Handsets expected to surf on AT&T's new LTE system are the HTC Vivid, Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket, LG Nitro HD, along with the HTC Jetstream and Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 Android tablets.