By Kristin Jones
Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) is launching its 4G LTE service in five metropolitan areas in mid-July, as the company struggles to catch up with other major carriers already offering the high-speed mobile Internet service.
Sprint will begin offering 4G services to customers in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City and San Antonio on July 15.
The company has committed billions to building out a new high-speed mobile broadband network that it hopes will draw new contract customers and help it keep pace with larger rivals that are also rolling out the new, faster service.
Sprint said Wednesday that it expects to launch the service in other markets later this year. Sprint said it will have largely completed the build-out of its 4G network, covering 250 million people, by the end of 2012.
In April, the company reported a net loss in contracted users during the first quarter, reversing a gain in contracts when it began to offer Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) iPhone to its customers last year.
Shares were roughly unchanged at $3.13 in recent trading. The stock has risen 34% so far this year.
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