Light Reading has created an LTE map of the United States, showing current areas served by AT&T, Verizon and Sprint LTE. Verizon Wireless is maintaining a solid Long Term Evolution (LTE) lead over other carriers, since they had more than a year head start and Sprint’s LTE service won’t begin until this summer.
Verizon is in red, AT&T in blue and Sprint in yellow. AT&T said Thursday that it has launched LTE in 28 markets, while Verizon says it now has 196 markets running. Sprint Nextel expects it will have six major LTE cities up by the middle of this year.
WiMax is not included in Light Reading’s map. Clear’s WiMAX coverage map is here. Clearwire says it ended 2011 with 10.4 million subscribers which includes approximately 5.9 million wholesale subscribers, almost all of which came from Sprint. CLEAR WiMax was available in 71 markets in the United States covering an estimated 131.9 million people at the end of 2011.
The 700 megahertz spectrum that Verizon Wireless is using for LTE was previously used for UHF television channels. The FCC auctioned it off in 2008 with Verizon Wireless spending about $9.4 billion for licences that cover all 50 states, except for Alaska — which means the company can offer virtually nationwide services. In December 2011 Verizon also bought AWS spectrum (1.7/2.1 GHz) from cable operators for $3.6 billion. Sprint/Clear is sitting on nearly 100 MHz on the 2.6 GHz band. AT&T doesn’t have any spectrum to spare and will probably have to buy some from Dish or Sprint since neither MetroPCS nor Cricket have any to spare.