Verizon Wireless revealed in its earnings call on Friday (CP: Verizon’s mobile data growth still driven by Android, 3G) that it had already succeeded in completing it planned 2011 footprint, but VZW isn’t resting on its laurels for the remaining two months of the year. It said today it plans to build its LTE footprint well beyond its goal of 185 million pops coveredóright now it’s 1 million overóand will continue to turn up new markets in November and December.
As of last Thursday, the LTE footprint covered 155 markets, large and small. In November plans to expand that footprint to 13 more cities including one of the last major metro markets still sans LTE, Kansas City. Verizon won’t necessarily stop at 178 markets, but it isn’t revealing its December plans just yet. It could be well on track to surpass the 200 million pops mark by the end of the year, giving it nearly two-thirds coverage of the U.S. population.
AT&T and Sprint will have even more catching up to do. AT&T has begun its LTE rollout, launching its first five LTE markets in September with a year-end goal of 70 million pops covered (CP: AT&T LTE goes live). Sprint won’t turn on its first commercial LTE network until next year, but plans an aggressive rollout immediately following its launch (CP: Sprint strikes out on its own with LTE)