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AT&T doubled its 4G LTE coverage this year

More than 150 million people are now under the carrier's LTE umbrella, twice the number at the end of 2011.

Striving to play catch-up with Verizon, AT&T has doubled the reach of its LTE network from a year ago.

The carrier's 4G LTE network now covers more than 150 million people across the U.S., double the number at the end of last year. With its rollout ahead of schedule, AT&T aims to reach 250 million people by the end of next year and 300 million by the end of 2014.

AT&T's LTE network is currently available in 103 markets scattered around the country. This week was another busy one for the company as it added several new markets to its lineup, including Louisville, Ky.; Milwaukee, Wisc.; Tacoma, Wash.; York, Penn.; Daytona Beach, Fla.; Pensacola, Fla.; Annapolis, Md.; Denver, Colo.; Provo, Utah; and the Twin Cities of Minnesota.

Despite AT&T's aggressive push, the carrier still lags far behind Verizon Wireless in LTE coverage. Recently expanding its 4G network in Virginia, Verizon now covers 440 markets throughout the country, reaching around 250 million people. Verizon did kick off its LTE deployment long before AT&T got into the game.

Both Verizon and AT&T are far in front of Sprint, which is still trickling out its LTE network, now available in around 32 cities in the U.S.

In October, Sprint said that it would expand into an additional 22 markets "in the coming months," aiming to reach 100 markets over an unspecified period of time. This week, the carrier added another nine cities to its rollout plans.

T-Mobile doesn't plan to start LTE deployment until next year. The company is still focusing on its HSPA+ rollout, which it says is fast enough to be considered 4G. T-Mobile's high-speed network now covers around 220 million people across more than 200 markets.