Verizon CFO predicts mid-2013 completion for 4G LTE buildout

Races to finish line six months ahead of schedule

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Despite AT&T's recent commitment to reinforce its infrastructure, aggressive 4G LTE deployment will have an early payoff next year for rival Verizon Wireless as the carrier completes its own buildout months ahead of schedule.

While speaking at the Wells Fargo Securities Technology, Media & Telecom Conference Thursday, Verizon Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo announced the carrier would wrap up work on its LTE network six months earlier than originally planned.

According to a report from Fierce Wireless, Shammo said Verizon's LTE network now covers 250 million people - roughly 80 percent of the U.S. population - and is expected to reach 260 million by year's end.

"You can see that people are massively migrating to that network," Shammo said in the wake of Verizon's third-quarter results, which revealed 14.9 million postpaid devices now using its LTE network.

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With 35 percent of Verizon's data traffic traveling over LTE, Verizon expects to complete its network upgrades by mid-2013.

By comparison, AT&T announced a new initiative Wednesday to reach 300 million customers with its own LTE network by the end of 2014, long after Verizon has completed its work.

Shammo said the company was also pleasantly surprised by the rapid adoption of its new shared data plans, with 13 percent of its customer base now using Share Everything.

The Verizon CFO also revealed that its recent $3.9 billion deal to purchase nationwide AWS spectrum from cable providers has given the carrier enough spectrum for the next five years, although he declined to elaborate on when it might actually be deployed.

Via Fierce Wireless