AT&T LTE Network 'Coming Soon'

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) plans to launch its first two Long Term Evolution (LTE) devices, a USB stick and mobile hot spot on Aug. 21, with its 4G network now expected to follow these gizmos. (See AT&T Unveils LTE Devices and AT&T Gears Up for Summer of LTE.)

"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.

For more
Read up on AT&T's LTE ambitions:

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

gtchavan 12/5/2012 | 4:56:06 PM
re: AT&T LTE Network 'Coming Soon'

My house in San Jose, Almaden Valley does not get ATT for voice and these guys are talking about LTE.  Lets fix that first.  And on the LTE, I guess to these Telco guys anything over 1meg download speed is LTE.  They are giving a bad name to LTE.  Someone should stop them from advertising LTE.

joset01 12/5/2012 | 4:56:05 PM
re: AT&T LTE Network 'Coming Soon'

But it *is* LTE, its even *4G* now that the ITU has changed its tune on what qualifies as 4G. AT&T and Verizon are doing it in smaller channels than some Euro carriers though, so its slower.

joset01 12/5/2012 | 4:56:05 PM
re: AT&T LTE Network 'Coming Soon'

Seriously, I've heard heard if you ask nicely they might give you a femtocell. Even more seriously though, I expect voice quality from all the major carriers to get worse over time, they want those data revenues, that's where the money is.

sam masud 12/5/2012 | 4:55:58 PM
re: AT&T LTE Network 'Coming Soon'

Came across the following (it is from Save the Internet):

Free Press and other opponents of the AT&T–T-Mobile merger had reason to cheer last week when a damning document AT&T filed with the FCC was accidentally posted on a public site. The partially redacted letter, which appeared on the FCC website for several hours on Thursday before it was yanked down, punctures a hole in AT&T’s central pro-merger argument — namely that only purchasing T-Mobile would allow it to expand its 4G LTE wireless data network to 97 percent of the population.

Turns out AT&T had considered expanding its network on its own but balked at the $3.8 billion price tag. “AT&T senior management concluded that, unless AT&T could find a way to expand its LTE footprint on a significantly more cost-effective basis, an LTE deployment to 80 percent of the U.S. population was the most that could be justified,” AT&T counsel Richard Rosen wrote in the letter. So AT&T concluded that it made better strategic sense to pony up $39 billion to purchase T-Mobile.

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