Verizon has launched its 4G network in nine more markets today, advancing the company's goal of covering 147 US cities with LTE by the end of 2011. With today's rollout, Verizon is now blanketing 55 metropolitan areas with its next-generation mobile broadband and the telecom giant expects to deliver 4G connectivity to its entire 3G coverage area by the end of 2013.

The latest LTE markets include Mobile and Montgomery (AL); Greater Fairfield and New Haven (CT); Gainesville, Pensacola, and Tallahassee (FL); Fayetteville-Lumberton (NC); as well as Bryan-College Station and Temple-Killeen (TX). Along with those new additions, the Verizon has expanded existing LTE coverage in Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, New Orleans and Philadelphia.

In related news, Reuters reports that Verizon plans to launch a tiered pricing scheme this summer -- a move that has been rumored since last year. Precise figures and dates haven't been shared yet, but it seems reasonable to expect fees in line with AT&T, which axed its unlimited data plan last June and charges $15/mo for 200MB or $25/mo for 2GB with $10/GB overages.

Verizon CFO Fran Shammo mentioned the possibility of offering family data plans, which would let various devices share a single pool of bandwidth. "I think it's safe to assume that at some point you are going to have mega-plans (for data) and people are going to share that mega-plan based on the number of devices within their family. That's just a logical progression," he said.

Shammo also revealed that Verizon will receive the next iteration of Apple's iPhone at the same time as AT&T, and Verizon's version will also work in as many countries as its competitor's. The executive wouldn't confirm whether the next iPhone will support LTE. Previous reports suggest iPhone 5 is expected to enter mass production in July followed by a September debut.