The general consensus is that the next generation ‘iPhone 5’ will be the first iPhone compatible with 4G “LTE” networks. If that does indeed turn out to be the case, prospective buyers in the United States may wish to carefully consider their choice of carrier. Verizon Wireless, with the addition of 34 new markets Thursday, now offers LTE in a total of 371 markets, equivalent to 75 percent of the country, the company announced late Wednesday.
National competitor AT&T, the first and only iPhone carrier until early 2011, offers LTE in about 50 markets, while third place Sprint has just over a dozen cities where its LTE network can reach. T-Mobile, the only carrier on which the iPhone is not “officially” available, still has no LTE network, although they are testing one for a planned launch in 2013.
Prospective iPhone buyers will not be the only recipients of Verizon’s strong LTE rollout. Just as the iPhone was a late-adopter of 3G network technology, so too will it be one of the last major handsets to adopt the next generation data network. Android phones from a variety of manufacturers have offered LTE compatibility since before the launch of the iPhone 4S last October, and the third-generation iPad launched in March with an LTE option on AT&T and Verizon.
When a new iPhone is launched, most companies jump on the bandwagon and market their products or services to the crowds of new iPhone owners. Consumers should therefore be especially wary of “4G” promotions from their mobile carriers. Due to lax marketing regulations, “4G” can refer to a variety of network technologies, most of which are not nearly as fast as LTE.
So if you use a regional carrier, or a national carrier with limited LTE availability, make sure to check their coverage maps before signing a contract to ensure that your new iPhone will be able to flex its data network muscles.
From Verizon’s Press Release, new markets include:
Hot Springs, Ark.; Redding, Calif.; Valdosta and Waycross, Ga.; Centralia and Danville, Ill.; Parsons, Salina and Topeka, Kan.; Alexandria and Monroe, La.; Pittsfield, Mass.; Battle Creek and Muskegon, Mich.; Mankato and Worthington, Minn.; Joplin and Sedalia, Mo.; Bismarck, Grand Forks and Minot, N.D.; Chillicothe, Ohio; Reading, Pa.; Aberdeen, S.D.; Laredo, Odessa and Texarkana, Texas; Brattleboro and White River Junction, Vt.; Charlottesville, Va.; Longview, Wash.; and Eau Claire, La Crosse and Manitowoc, Wis.
While existing markets seeing expansion Thursday are:
Los Angeles and Santa Barbara/Santa Maria, Calif.; Orlando, Fla.; Macon/Warner Robins, Ga.; Bloomington, Champaign/Urbana, Decatur/Effingham and Springfield, Ill.; Elkhart, Ind.; Des Moines, Iowa City and Sioux City, Iowa; Dodge City, Garden City and Great Bend, Kan.; Lexington and Louisville, Ky.; New Orleans, La.; Boston, Mass.; Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn.; Missoula, Mont.; Las Vegas, Nev.; Manchester/Nashua, N.H.; Las Cruces, N.M.; New York, N.Y.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Greenville/Spartanburg, S.C.; Sioux Falls, S.D.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; and Salt Lake City/Ogden, Utah; Roanoke, Va.; Charleston, W.Va.; and Green Bay, Wis. Additional areas include: Little Rock, Ark., expanding into Batesville, Ark.; Tallahassee, Fla., expanding into Thomasville, Ga.; Burley, Idaho, expanding into Twin Falls, Idaho; Chicago, Ill., expanding into DeKalb, Ill.; and Cedar City, Utah, expanding into St. George, Utah.