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Verizon presses LTE advantage, adds 33 new markets

The carrier is racing through its deployment and is on track to reach its goal of 400 markets by the end of the year.

Verizon's imposing booth at CES 2012
Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Verizon Wireless again widened its lead when it comes to 4G LTE coverage, blanketing nearly six times as many cities as all of its competitors combined.

The carrier told CNET today that it will launch in 33 new markets tomorrow, bringing the total number of markets to 337. The company is on track to hit its goal of 400 markets by the end of the year.

With virtually every wireless carrier committed to LTE, the breadth of coverage has become the stuff of bragging rights. Verizon, which was the first national carrier to launch LTE, has consistently remained ahead, with its deployment outstripping the other three national carriers.

Speed is also becoming more important as customers do more with their smartphones and demand a faster, persistent connection. Apple's next iPhone, for instance, is widely believed to be able to tap into an LTE network.

The 33 new markets are El Dorado/Magnolia and Russellville, Ark.; New London County, Conn.; Fort Pierce/Vero Beach and Melbourne/Titusville, Fla.; Columbus and Rome, Ga.; Burley, Idaho; Mattoon, Ill.; Anderson and Muncie, Ind.; Manhattan/Junction City and McPherson, Kan.; Lafayette/New Iberia, La.; St. Joseph, Mo.; Bozeman/Livingston, Kalispell and Missoula, Mont.; Goldsboro/Kinston, Roanoke Rapids and Rocky Mount/Wilson, N.C.; Zanesville, Ohio; Meadville and Punxsutawney/DuBois/Clearfield, Pa.; Orangeburg, S.C.; Sherman/Denison, Texas; Cedar City and Logan, Utah; Rutland/Bennington, Vt.; Lynchburg and Winchester, Va.; Bellingham, Wash.; and Beckley, W.Va.

In addition, the company expanded coverage in 32 markets: Mobile, Ala.; Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco; Washington, D.C.; Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Sarasota/Bradenton, Fla.; Hilo, Honolulu and Kahului/Wailuku/Maui County, Hawaii; Blackfoot/Idaho Falls/Rexburg, Idaho; Peoria, Ill.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Wichita, Kan.; Baton Rouge, La.; Baltimore, Md.; Kansas City and Springfield, Mo.; Akron, Cleveland, Columbus and Toledo, Ohio; Allentown/Bethlehem, Harrisburg and Scranton/Wilkes Barre, Pa.; Columbia and Greenville/Spartanburg, S.C.; Provo/Orem and Salt Lake City/Ogden, Utah; Fredericksburg, Va.; and Seattle, Wash.

In comparison, AT&T recently added several new LTE markets, bringing its total to 47. Sprint Nextel just launched its first 15 markets with LTE.

T-Mobile USA plans to launch its LTE service next year. In the meantime, it argues it has the largest 4G network by virtue of its speedy HSPA+ network, which some believe falls under 4G. AT&T has similarly argued it has a wider deployment of HSPA+ coverage. HSPA+, while faster than traditional 3G technology, is still slower than LTE.