(CNN) -- Verizon Wireless announced more concrete plans Wednesday for this year's launch of its speedier, next-generation internet service for mobile devices.
The carrier has been retooling its cellular infrastructure to cover 38 U.S. cities with its 4G data network before the end of the year. Major cities will include New York; Los Angeles, California; Chicago, Illinois; San Francisco, California; and Atlanta, Georgia.
Verizon's fourth-generation wireless network can transmit data 10 times faster than the 3G signal that most new smartphones are equipped with today. It will also send that information with half the delay of 3G, making it more conducive to gaming.
Verizon's 4G network (also called Long-term Evolution) can reach speeds faster than Sprint's 4G and T-Mobile's HSPA+ networks, both of which are currently available in a few dozen cities. AT&T maintains that its 4G service will launch next year.
Wireless carriers are scrambling to build faster networks as more consumers buy data-hungry smartphones that can download apps, exchange photos and stream music and video.
InformationWeek provides a full list of Verizon's 4G launch markets.
"We're very excited to be on the leading edge of this with the largest, by far, launch [of a 4G network]," Lowell McAdam, Verizon Communications' newly appointed chief operating officer, said Wednesday at the CTIA mobile industry event in San Francisco. "We have been waiting for years to say that things like machine-to-machine, things like motion video, could be carried over a wireless network."
Once the infrastructure is in place, electronics manufacturers will have to build products to take advantage of it. Current phones don't have the 4G chip needed to tap into the faster network or the battery capacity to properly handle its processing requirements.
Verizon will begin selling a laptop accessory that can be plugged into a USB port to access the 4G network, Chief Technology Officer Tony Melone said after the announcement.
Major smartphone and tablet makers are working on devices equipped with 4G, which should start showing up in stores during the first half of next year, McAdam said. About a half-dozen of those will be shown at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, Melone said.
Verizon isn't a regular attendee of the conference, held annually in Las Vegas, Nevada. But next year, the company will construct a two-story booth displaying products from its partners, BusinessWeek reported. Google Chief Eric Schmidt will join Verizon for an announcement at the conference.
"This network will be very conducive to video," Melone said Wednesday after joining McAdam onstage after the announcement.
"Just look at the wired environment today," Melone elaborated later. "Video has become a big part of the ecosystem. ... With LTE, we have a network that brings those similar capabilities into a mobile wireless environment."
A common gripe among Verizon smartphone users is that its 3G phones can't hold calls and transmit data simultaneously. (AT&T and Apple capitalized on that shortcoming in commercials.) When 4G phones finally hit the market, users in range of a newly equipped tower will be able to access 4G data while making calls on the existing network because the first batch of gadgets will include both chips.
The rollout has been a long time coming and not without its share of roadblocks. Interference with Canada's wireless signals is creating problems for work on Detroit, Michigan's network, for example, but McAdam said he expects that to be resolved "in the near future."
Verizon is also outfitting 62 airports with 4G coverage, including some in cities that won't be part of the initial rollout.
The launch areas will cover 110 million Americans, according to McAdam. The nation's largest network by subscribers expects the size of its 4G coverage area to be on par with its 3G network by 2013.
Verizon also is in talks with rural cell carriers to combine their 4G networks through partnerships. Out of 200 companies that have expressed interest to Verizon, the telecom has reached agreements with five and is in the process of finalizing deals with another dozen, officials said.