Verizon to add 4G LTE coverage to 35 cities through November

by Phil Hornshaw

Verizon’s 4G LTE data network is set to expand pretty substantially on Nov. 17, when the carrier will add another 35 cities to its coverage.

Verizon released the info in a press release that details all the cities that will be part of the 4G network by mid-November. That’ll bring Verizon’s total number of markets that support 4G coverage to 175. That means quite a few more Android customers are going to get access to faster data speeds, just in time for the gift-giving season to start. You can check out the big list of cities where Verizon has 4G LTE coverage at the company’s website here.

Currently, Verizon leads the pack among the major cellular carriers with its 4G rollout. But doing a good job of keeping pace is Sprint, which just announced that it hopes to cover more than 260 markets by 2013. By the end of 2011, Sprint intends to cover about 120 markets with its 4G LTE blanket.

As it stands right now, 4G LTE coverage can be hard to come by. It’s mostly restricted to urban areas and larger markets. There’s a growing pool of Android devices that use the technology, however, which Verizon claims can hit download speeds between 5 and 12 megabites per second – which is pretty darn fast considering the top speeds of the current 3G service are around 2 Mbps.

The battle over 4G supremacy is likely to get pretty heated in the future as more Android devices jump onto the bandwagon of the faster technology. There’s also a battle of semantics among carriers and device makers: while at one point, “4G” referred to LTE service and a specific set of speeds and conditions, the term 4G has come to mean “anything better than 3G,” which can lead to customers getting a little shortchanged. Many products on the market today use technology like HSPA+, which is faster for data transfer than 3G, but aren’t technically 4G. One lawmaker is even working to introduce rules to define what can be called “4G.”

As the carriers expand their networks to cover more of the country, though, we should start to see some serious increases in the speeds of our mobile devices. And that should facilitate some cool new features, like more useful web browsing and more mobile multiplayer gameplay, whether you’re at home on a Wi-Fi connection or out and about.