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AT&T Plans LTE-Advanced in 2H13

Dan Jones
LR Mobile News Analysis
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) "will begin firing up" LTE-Advanced networks in the second half of 2013 as it tries to move more wireline customers to 4G wireless instead, according to a report Monday from Technology Business Research Inc. (TBR) .

LTE-Advanced is based on release 10 of the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) specification, and it is aiming for maximum download rates of 3Gbit/s and uploads of 1.5Gbit/s. These speeds are bound to be lower, however, when deployed on real networks outside of the lab.

AT&T currently has 109 markets up using the older LTE specification. It is hoping to cover 300 million potential users with LTE by the end of 2014 via its $14 billion Project Velocity IP plans.

In the report, TBR analysts Ken Hyers and Eric Costa note that 4G technology will help underpin new initiatives from AT&T, such as its Mobile Premise wireline replacement scheme, Digital Life home automation plans, Connected Car scheme and its involvement with the ISIS mobile payments project. For Mobile Premise, AT&T will offer a $9.99 a month service that lets customers port their wireline numbers to a device that forwards calls directly to their cellphones and to in-home wired phones.

"As customers continue to give up wireline numbers for wireless, AT&T responds by developing a solution that will cannibalize its own wired network, rather than having other operators take their customers," the analysts write.

AT&T petitioned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) early in November to update its rules so that wired or wireless IP systems can be considered as a replacement for the traditional copper phone-line system.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:16:38 PM
re: AT&T Plans LTE-Advanced in 2H13

TBR also noted in the report that AT&T Expects 40M NFC phones available in the U.S. by end of 2014.

User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:16:32 PM
re: AT&T Plans LTE-Advanced in 2H13

Because device choice is garbage on Clearwire and will be even worse with the initial TD-LTE network launch? Among other things..

User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:16:31 PM
re: AT&T Plans LTE-Advanced in 2H13

I'm wondering about that. Clearwire uses the lack of phones as an excuse to stretch out their upgrade to LTE. But there are a lot of phones that use Qualcomm's MSM8960 chip, which supports TD-LTE, which Clearwire uses.


The iPhone even has a Qualcomm modem MDM9615m that supposedly supports TD-LTE.

Is it that the rest of the phone design wasn't designed right to be able to connect to Clearwire's network? Or is it that a software update is needed? Or maybe the phones are capable of it, but the cellphone companies won't turn it on to force us to buy new phones (that's the cynic in me)?

And does LTE-Advanced come automatically when a phone supports LTE, or is another phone upgrade needed to get it?


User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:16:29 PM
re: AT&T Plans LTE-Advanced in 2H13

I'm thinking TD-LTE might also throw up issues with VoLTE too.

User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:16:29 PM
re: AT&T Plans LTE-Advanced in 2H13

There is software in phones that require it.  Just tossing a chip that supports it into a phone doesn’t make it magically work.  Filters are also required.  The modem chip in the Nexus 4 supports the LTE bands in Canada; the filters are not there as well as the design of the antennae.  So while users can enable it and it does work, it doesn't work all that well.

For LTE-Advanced it depends; if the phone has the hardware to support it, it could just be a software upgrade.  Most likely, the manufacturer will just require the new model be bought.  Not much use in giving away a new feature for free.  It is unlikely that they would go the Apple route and "charge" for an update.

User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:16:28 PM
re: AT&T Plans LTE-Advanced in 2H13

Thanks to DSLReports for the pickup on the story.


User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:16:27 PM
re: AT&T Plans LTE-Advanced in 2H13

There are significant differences with LTE Advanced vs LTE and LTE A has numerous features that do or do not need to be included to claim LTE-A. So it is difficult to say. The obvious desired feature is carrier aggregation so multiple bands of spectrum (inter band or intra band) can be added together to give greater throughput or capacity. This requires new Baseband MODEM chipsets in handsets (Qulacomm releasing very soon) and most likely new RF chipsets as wel....but maybe not (depends on the required bands)

On the infrastructure side SW updates to the baseband would most likely add support, but certainly new Radios would be required that support mult-band (most are single band) which is most likely why ATT are rolling it later next year....they havent finished LTE yet


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