Verizon triples 4G capacity in top markets, looks to maintain network lead

|About: Verizon Communications (VZ)|By:, SA News Editor

With its 4G rollout largely complete from a coverage standpoint (~300M Americans now covered), Verizon (VZ +0.7%) is making good on its promise to ramp network capacity. By turning on a new network in the high-frequency AWS band (good for urban areas), Big Red has tripled its 4G capacity in markets such as NYC, Chicago, and Seattle, and increased it by 150% in downtown L.A. and S.F. Dozens of additional markets will be added soon.

On paper, the spectrum-rich network can support speeds of 100-150Mbps. Though most users won't see such numbers, the network should allow Verizon to take the U.S. 4G speed crown back from AT&T (T +0.6%), which is reallocating 2G/3G spectrum to improve its 4G capacity.

The launch comes as Verizon admits soaring mobile data traffic has led to network congestion in markets such as NYC, Chicago, and S.F, and promises to increase capex to address the issue.

Verizon's 4G network edge is a major reason why it has continued gaining postpaid share in spite of its premium pricing. AT&T just discounted its Mobile Share plans for certain users in an effort to better compete against Verizon and others.