We have to admit, AT&T's current "4G" offering - which uses HSPA+ - has left us pretty much cold, with underwhelming speeds in comparison to Verizon's LTE network. Happily AT&T also has LTE plans of its own, and the carrier has just announced the first five markets to get the speedier 4G access: Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Atlanta and San Antonio will all get some AT&T LTE-lovin' as of this summer.
It's part of AT&T's ambitious 4G roll-out plans, which will see the carrier aim to have another 10 - or more - markets equipped with LTE access by the end of this year. That will be 70m people with the potential for AT&T LTE service, and since they'll need devices with which to access it, the carrier is saying that "some" of its 20 4G devices this year will support LTE as well as HSPA+.
The exact proportion is still unknown, as are the handset OEMs AT&T is working with, but we're guessing that just as we've seen Verizon launch phones from HTC, Samsung and - soon - LG, those companies will be equally happy to help AT&T out too. Meanwhile, there's the persistent rumor of an LTE Apple iPhone in the wings.
AT&T's 4G Evolution
Dallas, Texas, May 25, 2011
By John Donovan, AT&T Chief Technology Officer
AT&T has delivered five mobile broadband speed upgrades in recent years, including our HSPA+ deployment last year. And average nationwide speeds on the AT&T network have increased – more than 40 percent over the past two years alone.
The next network evolution will arrive this summer with the addition of LTE in five markets – Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Atlanta and San Antonio. We plan to add another 10 or more markets in the second half of the year, and cover 70 million Americans with LTE by year-end. We also have plans to add 20 4G devices to our robust device portfolio this year, with some of those being LTE capable.
We’re positioning to deliver a great mobile broadband experience in the near term with HSPA+ and a growing LTE footprint.
We’ve invested $75 billion in our wireless and wired networks over the last four years – more capital invested in the U.S. than any company in any industry. And we plan to invest $19 billion in our wireless and wireline networks and other capital projects this year. The investments we’ve made to evolve our mobile broadband network in recent years, plus what we have planned for the future, put our customers in position to benefit fully from a host of coming mobile broadband innovations.