It looks like Verizon is ready to double down on the 4G LTE rollout and continue leaving AT&T in the dust. In some recent comments detailed by the Wall Street Journal Verizon is aiming to release nothing but 4G LTE capable smartphones in 2012 in hopes of enticing customers on-board. That and they want to double their numbers from last year’s impressive launch.

Last year Verizon unveiled the HTC ThunderBolt at CES and quickly launched their next-gen 4G LTE network ahead of AT&T and the others. They quickly reached, and passed their goal for 2011 of 185 LTE capable markets and currently sit at over 200 today. Going on to mention that they will continue updating and rolling out 4G LTE to markets across the US at the extremely fast pace they have been, and expect to double their numbers to 400 markets by years end. With AT&T sitting around 20 or so, I have a feeling Verizon is pretty comfortable. Here is what David Small, Verizon CTO had to say on the matter.

By the end of the year, our plan is to be in at least 400 markets across the country, up from about 200 today. Alaska will be the only state without 4G LTE service before 2013.

Hopefully Alaska gets it before then, but that comment isn’t promising for those in the depths of the great outdoors. While Verizon 4G LTE is growing fast and they’ve released tons of capable phones — only 5% of their subscribers currently use 4G LTE. That is probably in part due to tons of BlackBerry and iPhones using the older, outdated 3G technology. Not to mention LTE being barely a year old consumer-wise, and many haven’t upgraded because they are still locked into their 2-year contracts.

According to the WSJ, in regards to smartphones Verizon will only be announcing LTE capable devices for the duration of 2012. This means that even budget friendly devices will all be LTE powered. Sounds good if you ask me.

Maybe Verizon needs to let users upgrade 6-8 months early to a 4G LTE smartphone, that would help speed up the process don’t you think? Do you rock a 4G LTE smartphone by Verizon, and if so, do you use it 24/7 or simply toggle 3G/4G as needed?

[via Droid-Life]