US cellco AT&T has announced that it intends to expand the coverage of its Long Term Evolution (LTE) network to twelve new markets this spring, giving it an anticipated 4G footprint of 40 markets. New markets include: New Orleans, and Baton Rouge (both Louisiana); Naples (Florida); Bloomington, Lafayette and Muncie, (all Indiana); St. Louis (Missouri); Akron, Canton and Cleveland (all Ohio); Bryan-College Station (Texas); and Staten Island in New York City. The launches are scheduled for April-May, but provisional rollout dates may be extended until the early summer.
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 gradually extended to a number of other cities taking its LTE coverage to 28 metropolitan markets by mid-February 2012. 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’.