Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) has been the leader in the wireless telecommunications world, though AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) has been on its heels as the No. 2. Perhaps this latest bit of news will provide some distance between the two big rivals and increase the gulf between those two and not-so-close closest competitor, Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S). Verizon announced that its 4G LTE network will be online in 34 new markets Thursday and will cover 75 percent of the United States.
Not only that, but Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) said it was expanding its network coverage in 38 existing markets. With this launch, the next-generation LTE network will cover 371 markets across the country. This rollout is likely to be a huge sell point for smartphone users, who are looking to browse the Internet faster, download pictures and do many other similar activities wirelessly and with more speed and efficiency. As of Thursday, Verizon’s LTE network will cover more markets than all of the other carriers combined and expects to be in 400 markets very soon.
While Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) is blanketing the country with 4G, the other carriers are struggling to keep up. AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T), the No. 2 wireless carrier, has only switched on its 4G LTE in 50 markets so far, while Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) is looking at 19 markets by Labor Day. Though not official, it has been believed that the new iPhone from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will be compatible with the faster network.
This news about Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) being laps in front of other wireless carriers regarding the newest network will likely be received well by many investors – including hedge funds like billionaire Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater Associates, which took a bullish $17.2 million position in the stock in the first quarter 2012 after having no money invested there prior to the new year. Check out Ray’s top stock picks and see his billion-dollar portfolio.