As Verizon Wraps Up, AT&T Catches Up

Top domestic carrier Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) Wireless recently said it had completed its 4G LTE network rollout, which now covers 500 markets and 99% of its 3G footprint. No. 2 rival AT&T (NYSE: T  ) is still behind in terms of coverage, but Ma Bell is catching up.

AT&T just added another 35 LTE markets today, bringing its total tally up to 326. That's enough to cover 292 million people in its 4G network, but remember that AT&T includes HSPA+ in its 4G marketing claims. Only 200 million of these are covered by LTE specifically, and Ma Bell is targeting 300 million by the end of next year.

Smaller carriers Sprint and T-Mobile are still far behind the bigger two in the LTE race. Sprint just finally shut down its older iDEN network at the end of June in order to pave the way for more LTE capacity. The No. 3 carrier expects to repurpose its 800 MHz spectrum for LTE through next year. T-Mobile is far behind with LTE coverage, currently covering only seven markets.

The next transition that carriers will embark upon is launching Voice-over-LTE, or VoLTE. AT&T is planning to adopt VoLTE later this year, which would be just ahead of Verizon's VoLTE launch that Big Red delayed into 2014. However, since AT&T's network is built using a wider range of technologies relative to Verizon's, it won't be able to move toward LTE-only devices any time soon.

Verizon is hoping for LTE-only phones to help reduce costs and subsidies, and Big Red is closer to making this switch since its LTE network is complete. AT&T will rely on phones that need numerous modems for the foreseeable future.

AT&T may be starting to catch up, but it still has a long ways to go.

Smarter investing
Want to get in on the smartphone phenomenon? Truth be told, one company sits at the crossroads of smartphone technology as we know it. It's not your typical household name either. In fact, you've probably never even heard of it! But it stands to reap massive profits NO MATTER WHO ultimately wins the smartphone war. To find out what it is, click here to access the "One Stock You Must Buy Before the iPhone-Android War Escalates Any Further..."


Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (3)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

DocumentId: 2521208, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 7/23/2014 6:15:09 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...


Advertisement