Verizon Wireless says its new wireless broadband network, which is to offer higher data speeds initially for laptop users, will be live before the end of the year in the cities in the Boston-to-Washington corridor as well as in Charlotte, N.C., California, Chicago, Miami, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Seattle and other areas.

In all, Verizon aims to cover 38 cities and a third of the country’s population with its so-called fourth-generation, or 4G, network before the end of the year. In addition, it’s lighting up more than 60 airports, the carrier said Wednesday

Verizon had said that it aimed to cover 25 to 30 unidentified cities by the end of the year.

The target market for the 4G service is initially business users who need Internet connections on the go. Verizon says phones and tablet computers that can take advantage of the higher speeds will come next year. The Wall Street Journal cited unidentified people as saying Wednesday that Apple had briefed them on an iPhone for the Verizon system that would be out in the first quarter of 2011.

Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam repeated the company’s line that it does not expect to sell a 3G iPhone but would like to do so for its 4G network. A 4G iPhone is probably at least a year away, both because the network is still being built and because of technical challenges on the phone side.

In an interview at the CTIA wireless technology trade show in San Francisco, Verizon Wireless’ chief technology officer, Tony Melone, said the move to the new network from Verizon’s current 3G, or third-generation, network will be like building a highway with many lanes next to one with two lanes.

“The more capacity we give (people), the higher the speeds, the lower the latency, the more things that they do in a wired environment they can do in an unwired environment,” he said.

Sprint Nextel Corp. already has a 4G network run by its Clearwire Corp. subsidiary, but it uses technology that’s incompatible with Verizon’s. Verizon, on the other hand, is using LTE, or Long-Term Evolution, a technology that’s set to be adopted widely in the industry. AT&T Inc. and T-Mobile USA have a greater ability to upgrade speeds on their current networks and are waiting for LTE to mature before introducing it.

Verizon, the country’s largest wireless carrier, was beaten to the LTE punch by MetroPCS Communications Inc., the fifth-largest carrier. Last month, MetroPCS launched LTE coverage in Las Vegas. It plans to add a few more cities before the end of the year. MetroPCS is adopting LTE not so much because of the higher data speeds but because the technology helps lower operating costs.

Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications Inc. of New York and Vodafone Group PLC of Britain.

Verizon Wireless said the following cities will get its 4G wireless service by the end of the year:

  • Akron, Ohio
  • Athens, Ga.
  • Atlanta
  • Baltimore
  • Boston
  • Charlotte, N.C.
  • Chicago
  • Cincinnati
  • Cleveland
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Dallas-Fort Worth
  • Denver
  • Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
  • Houston
  • Jacksonville, Fla.
  • Las Vegas
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minn.
  • Nashville, Tenn.
  • New Orleans
  • New York
  • Oakland, Calif.
  • Oklahoma City
  • Orlando, Fla.
  • Philadelphia
  • Phoenix
  • Pittsburgh
  • Rochester, N.Y.
  • San Antonio, Texas
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • San Jose, Calif.
  • Seattle-Tacoma
  • St. Louis
  • Tampa, Fla.
  • Washington
  • West Palm Beach, Fla.

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