"We're on track with our plans to officially launch 4G LTE in 15 markets by end of year, with the first five market announcements coming very soon," an AT&T spokeswoman tells LR Mobile via email. "Till then, Momentum and Elevate [LTE devices] will work on HSPA+."
Both Sierra Wireless Inc. (Nasdaq: SWIR; Toronto: SW)-made devices will be available with five-gigabyte data plans for $50 per month, equal to what Verizon Wireless charges for its five-gigabyte plan. As on AT&T's current data plans, overages will cost users $10 per megabyte.
The USB Connect Momentum 4G and Mobile Hotspot Elevate 4G will retail for $49.99 and $69.99, respectively. In addition, AT&T's USBConnect Adrenaline, already on the market, will be upgradable to LTE via a software update on Aug. 26. (See AT&T Unveils LTE & HSPA+ USB Modems.)
Why this matters
Not wanting to lose 4G attention, AT&T is launching these LTE devices ahead of turning on its LTE network. As such, it's touting its main 4G advantage, that users will be fall back on to the 21Mbit/s High-Speed Packet Access Plus (HSPA+) network rather than slower CDMA-based 3G, like on Verizon. Of course, AT&T will need this advantage, because its LTE footprint will be tiny at launch and the network won't be nearly as widespread as Verizon's for a long time.
AT&T still isn't giving a definite time line for its commercial launch of LTE services, but says it is initially deploying LTE in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio this summer -- potentially around the launch of these devices next week. It has promised to cover 70 million Americans spanning 15 markets by the end of this year. Comparatively, Verizon will cover 185 pops in 175 markets, up from its current 100 markets, by the end of the year.
Read up on AT&T's LTE ambitions:
- 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?
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile