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4G/3G/WiFi

AT&T/T-Mobile: Nationwide LTE Within 6 Years

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) could take up to six years to complete its nationwide deployment of Long Term Evolution (LTE), even if it manages to complete its planned US$39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile US Inc. . (See DoJ Blocks AT&T/T-Mobile Merger.) That's a fascinating footnote to be found in the leaked AT&T letter hosted by DSL Reports. The document lays out some of the reasons why AT&T wants T-Mobile to move from a planned 80 percent national coverage with the 4G technology to 97 percent of the U.S. population:

    The combined company will deploy LTE to more than 97.3 percent of the U.S. population within six years of the merger closing. The geographic coverage footprint for this LTE deployment corresponds to the geographic coverage footprint AT&T expects to have by the end of 2013, plus additional T-Mobile USA sites.


So even if it completes the T-Mobile merger by early 2012, something that seems unlikely with the U.S. Department of Justice now involved, AT&T has given itself until 2018 to reach 97 percent coverage. (See AT&T: What It Loses Without T-Mobile.)

The 2013 footprint that AT&T mentions is going to require updating 44,000 nodes with LTE. On its own, AT&T expects to cover 70 million Americans with LTE by the end of 2011, 170 million by the end of 2012 and 250 million by the end of 2013. (See AT&T Building Islands of LTE in 2011.)

LTE rival Verizon Wireless expects to cover 185 million people with the 4G update by the end of 2011. (See Verizon Speeds Up LTE Expansion .) In the meantime, AT&T users can fall back to 21Mbit/s HSPA+ 3G. The letter states that AT&T expects to cover 97 percent of the population with that network by the end of 2012.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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Anne Morris 12/5/2012 | 4:54:47 PM
re: AT&T/T-Mobile: Nationwide LTE Within 6 Years

Yes, they conceded that HSPA+ et al "may" also be called 4G but such 3G technologies are still not officially part of IMT-Advanced, which currently only includes LTE-Advanced and WiMAX-Advanced (although the ITU announcement at the time was leapt on as proof that the ITU had bowed under pressure mainly from US operators).


Anyway, by the time we actually get to "real 4G" goodness knows what else will be out there...

joset01 12/5/2012 | 4:54:47 PM
re: AT&T/T-Mobile: Nationwide LTE Within 6 Years

Well the ITU softened its language on 4G back in December 2010 so that even HSPA+ could be counted as 4G.

Anne Morris 12/5/2012 | 4:54:47 PM
re: AT&T/T-Mobile: Nationwide LTE Within 6 Years

Interesting comments about AT&T's LTE timetable. One aspect of LTE rollouts that I have always struggled with is the insistence on calling LTE "4G" even as ITU works on defining IMT-Advanced - the "real" 4G. AT&T/T-Mobile further complicate the matter as T-Mobile now calls its HSPA+ network "4G". Many out there simply do not care what operators/vendors call their networks - 3G, 4G, super-duper 3.75G - but to me it would make more sense to follow the standards approach.

opticalwatcher 12/5/2012 | 4:54:46 PM
re: AT&T/T-Mobile: Nationwide LTE Within 6 Years

Words are most useful when they make important distinctions, not when they follow some standard.


Data on mobile networks meant 100s of Kbits per second at their fastest, and this was called 3G. So when WiMax, LTE, and HSPA+ brought speeds as fast as 10s of Mbits per second, consumers needed a new term and the marketing departments were all too willing to supply one. The term 4G existed and so was usurped from the standards groups, and as often happens with words, the standards groups had no choice but to grudgingly follow along.


Maybe we should use 5G for the next step in speed.

Kevin Mitchell 12/5/2012 | 4:54:46 PM
re: AT&T/T-Mobile: Nationwide LTE Within 6 Years

Regardless of the ITU definition, LTE is truly a new generation of technology is that it is ALL IP. Forget the speed argument, LTE is a total break from past RAN technologies that used two channels, each dedicated to 1 type of service: circuit-switched for voice and messaging and packet-switched for Internet and data.


LTE has one fast IP channel for all communications and uses IP signaling protocols and IP transport throughout. It's a new and next generation compared to 3G!

Anne Morris 12/5/2012 | 4:54:46 PM
re: AT&T/T-Mobile: Nationwide LTE Within 6 Years

Too true indeed.


I was just reading about Cell C in South Africa being ordered to drop its "4Gs" branding as it's deemed as misleading by the advertising authorities there. The company said "4Gs" stands for ‘For Great Speeds’ and ‘For Great Support’ – but this did not go down well with rival operators! Cell C has HSPA+. So attempts in South Africa to use 4G (even with an added small "s") for marketing purposes have so far been shot down in flames...

joset01 12/5/2012 | 4:54:46 PM
re: AT&T/T-Mobile: Nationwide LTE Within 6 Years

"Maybe we should use 5G for the next step in speed."


 


Ugh, no, only one G-shift a decade allowed, thanks! And "4G" did have a solid definition, 100Mbit/s downloads on the move, 1Gbit/s stationary, the ITU just ended up saying that 3.5/3.75G tech could play too.


joset01 12/5/2012 | 4:54:46 PM
re: AT&T/T-Mobile: Nationwide LTE Within 6 Years

Re: "Yes, they conceded that HSPA+ et al "may" also be called 4G but such 3G technologies are still not officially part of IMT-Advanced, which currently only includes LTE-Advanced and WiMAX-Advanced (although the ITU announcement at the time was leapt on as proof that the ITU had bowed under pressure mainly from US operators)."


 


Well, give em an inch and they'll take a yard!


joset01 12/5/2012 | 4:54:45 PM
re: AT&T/T-Mobile: Nationwide LTE Within 6 Years

A get out of contract clause? Don't expect it would ever happen...

^Eagle^ 12/5/2012 | 4:54:45 PM
re: AT&T/T-Mobile: Nationwide LTE Within 6 Years

Dan,


Even though ITU "softened" it's position and is allowing the "languaging" by marketing departments to now call or "re-brand" higher speed versions of 3G as "4G", it does not make it right.  Rather, it is an indication of how powerful "marketing" departments have become and how important "messaging" is in our society.  Messaging which supplants reality in many cases.


Typical marketing hype and mis-direction which leads to confusing of consumers.  Which I suppose is the intent or purpose of the intense "4g" messaging we are seeing in all outlets for marketing communications.  Including LR and pretty much all the popular press.


while cool for the carriers, I think it does a dis-service to consumers.


I would far rather see it branded as something like "fast 3g" or something equivalent.  Keep 4 G for true 4g including advanced modulation, SON, intelligent backhaul, true IP core, and of course much faster.


IMHO 


sailboat

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