AT&T recently announced that their LTE network is now covering more than 300 million people in the United States. That figure is about 95% of the whole population of the country.
AT&T did not state for certain whether they are stopping their 4G rollout. But by hitting 300 million, the carrier has no doubt accomplished something significant -- AT&T has covered more people than Verizon did when it initiated its LTE rollout. Back in June of 2013, it was reported that Verizon had reached 298 million people when it completed its 4G network rollout.
But it seems that mark has been surpassed by none other than AT&T. This milestone notwithstanding, it should be noted that about 17 million Americans still do not have access to an AT&T LTE signal. Of course, major carriers can never really achieve 100% network coverage. What they do instead is cede the rural areas (where they usually have trouble penetrating) into the hands of region-based carriers. The major carriers then cut roaming deals with these smaller carriers.
Verizon and Sprint have already begun forging partnerships based on such roaming deals. In this kind of setup, they allow the smaller carriers to use their spectrum for LTE rollouts.
As for AT&T and T-Mobile, they have decided to make their respective LTE networks exclusively for their own use only, at least for the time being. But plenty could change in the foreseeable future, especially for AT&T. As more 4G-compatible handsets become interoperable on the carrier's networks and on those established by smaller carriers, it may be more advantageous (and profitable) for AT&T to slacken its network exclusivity.
With the 300 million accomplishment, AT&T has essentially completed its first LTE network. But there is more work to be done. The next step for the carrier now is to complete its second and third LTE networks. AT&T has been busy building these new networks in different frequency bands for some time now.
Moreover, it appears AT&T is not the only one who has its hands full. Its close competitor Verizon is busy doing the same thing. As a matter of fact, Verizon has been at it since fall of last year -- building its XLTE network utilizing airwaves it recently acquired from cable operators.
In recent years, AT&T has already poured more than $140 billion into building reliable wireless/wireline networks in the US. It has even acquired spectrum and wireless operations in order to beef up its network-building efforts. It is quite possible that over the period of 2008 to 2013, no other public company has invested more capital into the US economy than AT&T.
Wirefly Is America's Most Trusted Source For All Cell Phones, Plans, TV, and Internet Deals
Wirefly offers great deals on a large selection of smartphones, cell phones, tablets, mobile hotspots, and other wireless devices for the nation's most popular carriers. Use Wirefly’s innovative cell phone and plan comparison tools to ensure you are getting the best deal on the market. Shop with confidence knowing that Wirefly wants to help you find the best prices on cell phones, cell phone plans, TV, and Internet service.