Verizon Wireless keeps on getting bigger.
The largest U.S. mobile operator added 2.2 million total connections in the second quarter, including 1.3 million retail postpaid customers. That brings the total number of connections at Verizon Wireless to 106.3 million, reflecting a 6.6 percent increase year over year.
The carrier now supports 89.7 million retail customers and 16.6 million wholesale and other connections.
Its closest rival, AT&T, serves 98.6 million customers, including 68.4 million postpaid subscribers, after courting 1.1 million wireless customers (including 331,000 postpaid subscribers) in the second quarter.
Although Verizon Wireless wooed more customers than AT&T in the quarter, AT&T activated more iPhones than its peer. Verizon Wireless activated 2.3 million iPhone 4 units while AT&T reported activating 3.6 million iPhones. AT&T and Verizon Wireless are the only U.S. carriers with rights to sell Apples popular smartphone.
Both operators are rolling out fourth generation networks to support the growing demand for wireless data services on iPhones and other sophisticated devices, but Verizon Wireless is ahead in the race.
As of Thursday, Verizons 4G LTE network was available in 102 markets covering roughly 160 million people. The company expects the network to be available to more than 175 markets reaching 185 million people by the end of the year.
AT&T plans to roll out a 4G network in 15 markets in 2011, reaching 70 million Americans by the end of the year.