AT&T's LTE expansion continues with a fairly major batch of announcements today: the company has turned on 4G LTE in seven new US markets, with more sites planned by the end of 2012. Syracuse, Bakersfield, and Anchorage are among the cities with LTE now available — it's the first time AT&T has expanded into Alaska. Coverage in the New York / New Jersey and Washington, DC areas has also been expanded. Almost four dozen other markets are promised by "the end of the year," including forays into Seattle, Portland, Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Hawaii. This will almost double AT&T's LTE availability, bringing it from a current 60 markets to over 100.

While AT&T promises the "largest 4G network" with HSPA+, its LTE still lags behind Verizon, which has said it covers 75 percent of the US population. This fall, however, will see the launch of the latest iPhone, putting pressure on AT&T to keep up with Verizon. It's also possible we'll see more new flagship phones on LTE. The company's full rollout runs through 2013, but this could explain why we're seeing both an expansion now and a promise to have coverage in several major markets over the coming months.