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Sprint rolls out 4G LTE to 70 more cities

From Wisconsin to the Virgin Islands, the latest LTE additions bring Sprint's tally to 300 markets across the US.

Sprint innovation center
Lynn La/CNET

Sprint has mounted a year-end push to deliver 4G LTE to a larger number of new markets.

The carrier announced Monday that it has expanded its 4G LTE network to 70 more cities, including Green Bay, Wis.; Orlando, Fla.; San Diego; and St. Louis. The new LTE markets bring Sprint's total to 300 across the United States.

To ramp up its rollout, Sprint touted its Network Vision program, through which it upgraded its 3G network and deployed 4G LTE. The carrier has also redeployed its 800MHz spectrum for both LTE and 3G in an attempt to improve in-building coverage for voice and data.

Another initiative has been Sprint Spark, which uses three spectrum frequencies to ramp up 4G wireless speeds to as high as 50 to 60 megabits per second and eventually to 1 gigabit per second. Spark is currently available in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Tampa, and Miami, but Sprint expects to expand it to 100 of the largest US cities over the next three years.

By mid-2014, Sprint aims to cover 250 million Americans with 4G LTE. By the end of 2014, it expects 100 million people in the US to have Sprint Spark or 2.5GHz coverage.

"In 2013, we made major improvements across our 3G and 4G LTE network," Bob Azzi, Sprint chief network officer, said in a statement. "In the growing number of markets where the upgrades are nearly complete, our customers are noticing. Re-engineering our entire network has been a big undertaking, but now it's delivering tangible benefits to our customers. With the announcement of Sprint Spark, the increasing availability of 4G LTE and the improvements we have made to our voice network, we're full speed ahead for 2014."

Compared with Verizon and AT&T, Sprint was late to the LTE party. The company had initially hedged its bets on Clearwire's 4G WiMax before switching to LTE as its 4G standard.

Correction, 8:39 a.m. PT: This story incorrectly stated the number of Americans Sprint aims to cover with 4G LTE by mid-2014. It aims to cover 250 million Americans.