AT&T CFO John Stephens announced the launch at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Entertainment and Communications conference on Thursday. Summer officially ends north of the equator on Sept. 22, so Ma Bell just got LTE up before the autumn equinox.
AT&T will commence LTE services this weekend in five markets: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. AT&T has said that it expects to have another ten markets up by the end of 2011.
Why this matters The crucial question for AT&T will be how it competes with Verizon Wireless 's much larger LTE footprint. Big Red says that it currently reaches over 160 million Americans in 143 markets.
It seems unlikely to compete aggressively on LTE data pricing yet, as the only plan announced by AT&T so far asks for $50 for five gigabytes a month, with $10 for each gigabyte over. AT&T is more likely to tout the ability of its devices to fall back to faster HSPA+ FauxG services on many cities in its network.
For more Read up on AT&T's long road to LTE:
- AT&T's First LTE Tab Is for Big Spenders
- AT&T/T-Mobile: Nationwide LTE Within 6 Years
- LiTE Bites: LightSquared's 12 & AT&T in Chicago
- AT&T LTE Network 'Coming Soon'
- AT&T Ups Capex to $20B to Develop 3G & LTE
- AT&T Q2 Revenue Up 2.2% as Profit Dips
- AT&T Building Islands of LTE in 2011
- AT&T Starts Small With LTE
- Where Are the LTE Tablets?
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile