Sprint rolls out 4G LTE to nine more markets

The carrier continues to ramp up, but still trails mobile rivals Verizon and AT&T.

Sprint has added nine cities to its burgeoning 4G LTE network.

The carrier said today that it launched LTE coverage for Altoona, Pa.; Asheville and Statesville, N.C.; Columbus and Elkhart/Goshen, Ind.; Hammond, La.; La Crosse, Wis.; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Temple, Texas.

In addition, Sprint expanded its LTE network in four cities in Puerto Rico: San German, Yauco, Salinas, and Santa Isabel.

The nine new markets follow news that Sprint turned on LTE last month for certain areas of San Francisco, New York, and Washington, D.C.

Bob Azzi, Sprint's senior vice president for Network, said in a statement: "Customers report they are already finding a 4G LTE signal in these places, and we look forward to providing even more reliable access to the data they need with our official launches."

In January, Sprint said it would add 28 more markets to its LTE network in the coming months but didn't reveal a specific launch date.

Sprint initially hitched its post to Clearwire's 4G WiMax service before hopping onto the LTE bandwagon this past July. Since then, the company has rolled out 4G LTE to a total of 67 markets. Sprint still lags far behind Verizon and AT&T, but it is ahead of T-Mobile, which doesn't yet offer LTE coverage and instead relies on its 4G HSPA+ network.

Verizon is the LTE king, with around 480 markets. AT&T today launched LTE in two more cities -- Juneau, Alaska, and Monroe, La., bringing its total to 149 markets.