Verizon expanded its 4G LTE network to over 500 markets today, covering 99 percent of its 3G footprint and offering high-speed cellular service to over 298 million people. The carrier announced that Parkersburg, West Virginia was its 500th LTE market, although the company also expanded service to Liberal, Kansas and Warren, Pennsylvania earlier today.
AT&T may boast the fastest service in the country, but Verizon doesn’t seem to mind, instead highlighting its massive reach. “It’s about more than just speed, we provide speed where you want it, when you want it,” Verizon chief network officer Nicola Palmer said.
Palmer also revealed that Verizon hopes to offer its first 4G LTE-only smartphone by the end of 2013, noting that the device may actually be cheaper because it will only be equipped with a single cellular radio. However, until the network rolls out voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) to facilitate calls over its high-speed network, such a handset won’t be possible.
Verizon’s 4G LTE network is currently available in 49 states and will launch in Alaska next month.