AT&T to flip switch on 4G LTE network by mid-2011

AT&T logoAt an event at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show, AT&T finally offered details about its plans for 4G coverage. At today's Developer Summit, the telecom giant revealed that it plans to launch its 4G LTE network by the middle of 2011. In addition, AT&T says its HSPA+ deployment—a technology T-Mobile is touting as 4G—now covers "virtually 100 percent of its mobile broadband network" with customers seeing download speeds of up to 6Mbps (T-Mobile's flavor claims to offer download speeds of up to 21Mbps).

"AT&T is the only U.S. company committed to both HSPA+ and LTE technologies," said Ralph de la Vega, CEO of AT&T Mobility. "Today our customers are benefitting as we repeatedly increase speeds on our mobile broadband network. As we accelerate our LTE network build, our customers will have blazing fast LTE speeds and when they go off LTE, they will still have faster mobile broadband speeds with HSPA+—something our competitors will not be able to match."

AT&T plans to have the nationwide LTE rollout complete by the end of 2013 and says that two-thirds of its mobile traffic will have access to fiber or Ethernet backhaul by the end of this year. Of course, all that 4G bandwidth is no good without devices, and AT&T plans to make 20 4G devices available by the close of 2011. There will be at least two 4G smartphones hitting the market in the first quarter, and five to seven 4G gizmos by the end of June.

The first 4G smartphones to arrive from AT&T will be the Motorola ATRIX and HTC Inspire 4G, both of which are Android 2.2 devices scheduled to arrive during the first quarter. During the second quarter, AT&T customers will have access to the Samsung Infuse 4G, with a 4.5" display and 1.2GHz CPU. The Infuse will be an AT&T exclusive as well. AT&T will also have a 4G tablet—presumably Android—available by "mid-summer."

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: 4G, LTE

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