AT&T is getting ready to launch its LTE service, which is expected to be significantly faster than its current HSPA+ service. This will debut in five large cities scattered across the U.S. this summer, and many more by the end of this year.
Verizon launched its own 4G LTE network near the end of last year, so AT&T is playing catchup. In the mean time, this carrier has branded its current HSPA network as “4G”, but this was mostly a stop-gap measure. AT&T is expected to throw its full marketing muscle behind LTE as its 4G offering.
And the Winners Are…
The five markets where this company will launch LTE service are Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Atlanta and San Antonio. It plans to follow this up with another ten or more markets in the second half of the year, and will cover 70 million Americans with LTE by year-end.
AT&T is not yet making promises on how fast this 4G service will be. Rival Verizon says that its own LTE network provides speeds of up to 12 Mbps for downloads and up to 5 Mbps upload speeds under real-world conditions.
In order to take advantage of these quick data transfer speeds, users will need a phone with LTE support. AT&T is promising it will release “some” LTE-capable devices this year, but went into no details. The first of these will almost certainly be USB cards for laptops, but smartphones will almost certainly be along eventually.
AT&T has not yet said anything about what it will charge its customers to use its faster 4G service.