There's no doubt at this point that 4G LTE is the wave of the cellular data future. All the latest and greatest smartphones are 4G-capable. Even Apple's new iPad has 4G. While the networks to support these super-fast new devices are still small, they're growing rapidly. AT&T just announced that their 4G LTE network would be expanding to eleven new markets, and now Verizon looks set to top them.
Speaking yesterday to Dow Jones Newswires, Verizon Wireless chief technical officer David Small said that Verizon was planning to double the size of its 4G LTE network by the end of 2012. Whereas there are currently about 200 markets covered by Verizon's 4G network, they are planning to cover 400 markets by year's end.
That's not all, though. Small also said that every new phone coming to Verizon's network for the remainder of 2012 would be a 4G-capable phone. Think about that for a second: every phone. That includes, presumably, Apple's next iPhone (which, like the iPad, will probably just be "the new iPhone"). Now, rumors of a 4G iPhone have persisted for a couple of years now, but Small's statement here seems to confirm that this year will finally see the iPhone make the jump to 4G.
Of course, one could argue that Apple itself has already confirmed a 4G iPhone. After all, we've got a 4G iPad due to hit store shelves in just two days. It's pretty much unthinkable that Apple would launch a new iPad with 4G and a new iPhone without it.
What do you think? Is a 4G iPhone a certainty? With a 4G iPhone in your hands, would network size impact your choice of carrier? Let us know in the comments.