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Verizon: 4G is (mostly) everywhere, but we need to make it faster

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Mike Blake/Reuters/File

(Read caption) Verizon Wireless announced this week that it will begin making improvements to speed up its 4G LTE network, which now covers about 95% of the US population. Here, a photo illustration shows the Verizon icon on a smart phone.

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Verizon Wireless announced this week that it’s confident in its 4G network -- so confident, in fact, that it’s going to start slowly retiring the slower 3G network next year.

If you don’t have a 4G smart phone, don’t worry: Verizon plans to keep the 3G network up and running at least through 2019, although it will slowly begin turning 3G signals into 4G signals in some cities. The company announced in a blog post on Thursday that its 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) network is basically complete -- it now reaches 500 US markets and covers more than 95 percent of the US population. Verizon now turns its attention to making upgrades to the network to try to address speed issues.

Verizon was the first US provider to roll out a 4G network -- the company began offering service back in 2010 -- but third-party tests say AT&T’s data service is faster as of this year. Scott Moritz at Bloomberg reports that this is mainly due to congestion: Verizon has added customers more quickly than other providers, and all those extra devices suck up the once-plentiful bandwidth.

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