Verizon to roll out LTE networks in 38 markets by year’s end

Verizon will roll out a first large-scale Long Term Evolution (LTE) wireless network by year’s end in 38 markets covering more than 110 million people.

4G LTE is the most sophisticated, commercially available wireless network to date. The telco expects its network will offer average data rates of 5Mb/s to 12Mb/s for downloads and 2Mb/s to 5Mb/s for uplinks.

The download speed of the network is capable of delivering high-definition television programming, movies, news and other content. This will provide a major boost for programmers and content providers who want to expand the distribution of their programming to mobile devices.

However, it will also create more competition for cable operators, who will face increased competition from Verizon’s bundles of IPTV, broadband and wireless services. It could also strengthen the hand of video providers who could deliver pay TV services to wireless devices.

Lowell McAdam, president and COO of Verizon, said the initial 4G LTE launch will reach more than one-third of all Americans and quickly expand throughout the Verizon coverage area.

The 38 markets for the initial round of 4G LTE services include New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, Miami, Atlanta, Las Vegas and large sections of the Northeast corridor.

Telco service provider MetroPCS has a similar broadband wireless service up and running now in Dallas and Las Vegas — although much smaller in scale to Verizon’s plans — and AT&T will launch its LTE network sometime in 2011. The carriers are betting that these faster networks (and compelling content) will help drive growth of their data plans.