US cellco AT&T has announced that it has expanded the coverage of its Long Term Evolution (LTE) network to eleven new markets, giving it a 4G footprint of 26 markets and around 74 million people. New 4G markets include: New York City, New York; Austin, Texas; Orlando, Florida; Phoenix, Arizona; Chapel Hill and Raleigh (both North Carolina); and Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose (all California). Speaking at the Citigroup Entertainment, Media and Telecommunications Conference in San Francisco, John Stankey, president and CEO of AT&T Business Solutions, commented: ‘We are building a 4G LTE network that’s blazing fast, and we offer dual layers of 4G technologies to provide customers with a more consistent speed experience’.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, AT&T launched LTE services slightly behind schedule, on 18 September 2011, in Dallas-Forth Worth, San Antonio, Houston, Atlanta and Chicago, with 4G connectivity subsequently extended to Athens (Georgia), Baltimore, Boston and Washington DC in October, and, more recently, Charlotte (North Carolina), Indianapolis, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Oklahoma City and San Juan (Puerto Rico) in mid-November, bringing its LTE coverage to 15 metropolitan markets, covering around 70 million Americans. Whilst AT&T’s rollout plans are far more modest than those of its chief rival Verizon, in June 2011 Ralph de la Vega, CEO of AT&T Mobility, said that he predicted that LTE coverage would catch up with Verizon’s within ‘two or three years’.