Verizon announced today that Parkersburg, West Virginia is their 500th market for 4G LTE and their initial LTE network build out is just about complete. They are in 49 states and intend to enter their last, Alaska, next month.

With this latest market announcement, Verizon says they now cover 99% of their existing 3G footprint with 4G LTE. Verizon has always said they intend to cover 100% of their 3G footprint with 4G. They now claim 4G LTE coverage with 95% of the U.S. population or 298 million people.

With its 4G LTE network virtually complete, Verizon Wireless is now working towards an all IP future. They’ve also announced that they will launch voice over LTE (VoLTE), which is wireless VoIP in simple terms, in early 2014. A 4G LTE only handset will also ship in 2014, meaning all communication, voice and data, will be in IP form from that device.  Over half (57%) of all their data traffic already flows over their LTE network.

As they march towards all IP, Verizon will find ways to refarm their 3G spectrum for other uses, including additional 4G capacity, and M2M applications.

Big red’s aggressive move into 4G LTE has far reaching competitive implications. As 4G LTE performance improves, it’s increasingly being seen as an alternative to slower wireline broadband options, including versions of DSL. Their fixed wireless HomeFusion service is one example of Verizon Wireless targeting more than just mobile applications with 4G.

They will soon add their AWS spectrum holdings to their 4G LTE arsenal, and with further advancements in LTE already well underway, expect Verizon Wireless to take full advantage of their 4G LTE network to capture as much market share as possible from mobile and fixed applications alike.