Verizon to launch 4G in up to 60 markets by mid-2012

Everything moves at a lightning pace in the mobile world – everything, that is, except network rollouts. Where as handsets can go from announced to old news in the blink of an eye, network upgrades.. can’t.

Take Verizon’s upgrade to 4G technology, for example: they announced the move to LTE in February 2009, and began testing in one small market nearly half a year later. They’ll be firing it up for commercial use for the first time later this year, with plans to launch in 30 markets before the year is out.

Fortunately, things seem to be speeding up. Verizon has just disclosed plans to double their LTE footprint, just a bit over 1 year after launch.

In an interview with Network World (as first noted by the guys at FierceWireless), Verizon CTO Tony Melone says that their LTE network should be up and running in 60 markets 15 months after the initial launch. As we mentioned above, the initial launch should go down sometime in late 2010 – and by our count, “15 months after” that means some time around mid-2012.

Alas, they’re not specifying exactly which markets they’re talking about here, though it’s probably safe to assume that major cities are pretty close to the top of the list.

Interestingly, some areas that currently lack 3G will get bumped directly from the super-slow and pretty dang old 1XRTT network up to LTE. That’s like going from not having fire to being able to shoot magma out of your hands.

[Photo Credit: Jschumacher on Flickr]