Verizon recently announced that it would be expanding its LTE networks this year in order to accommodate its plans to only release devices that are exclusively on that network.
The fact that the carrier has declared this means that the next generation iPhone will most likely be an LTE device, since that smartphone is sure to launch sometime this year.
Verizon was the first carrier to support LTE and seems to want to solidify its place as the U.S. leader for the high-speed internet technology. AT&T also announced that it would be expanding its LTE network this year as well. However, its network is still relatively small since it was launched a good while after Verizon's.
The next iPhone being an LTE device has been an ongoing rumor since last summer. The iPhone 4S was rumored to be going 4G, but Apple chose to stick with 3G since the LTE chipsets were most likely too underdeveloped.
But with the release of the new iPad, Apple has shown that it is ready to embrace LTE on its mobile devices and wanted to use the tablet as the guinea pig.
Verizon hopes to cover 260 million Americans with LTE by the end of 2012. AT&T plans to cover only 150 million Americans by the end of the year. Alaska will be the only state to not be covered by Verizon's LTE in 2013 if the carrier's plans are carried out.
Verizon currently offers some other impressive LTE smartphones including the Samsung Galaxy Nexus that launched back in November of last year. The device is a Verizon exclusive and is expected to make its way to Sprint in the near future. It is also the only smartphone that comes with Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich pre-installed.
AT&T's hottest LTE smartphone is the Samsung Galaxy S2 Skyrocket that should receiving Ice Cream Sandwich by this summer.