AT&T's LTE Tests: The Lab Is Not the Real World
This is based on a demonstration shown to GigaOM at the operator's lab in Plano, Texas. Stacey Higginbotham reported that AT&T is using multiple input and output (MIMO) antennas and running the "real world" demos over both 700MHz and 1700/2100MHz AWS spectrum.
Higginbotham pointed out that "sharing those speeds with others on a cell tower will bring them down." This has led many to wonder if AT&T will offer faster LTE than Verizon.
What seems to have been forgotten is that Verizon was getting download speeds of 50 to 60Mbit/s on its initial tests. So it might be just as realistic to ask if AT&T's network will be slower than the 5 to 12Mbit/s average downloads offered over the live Verizon 4G LTE network. (See Real-World LTE and WiMax & LTE Meet the Real World.)
In reality, of course, it is impossible to say for sure what AT&T's average LTE speeds will be when the data rubber meets the fat-pipe road later this year. They're likely, however, to be similar to Verizon's, if AT&T is launching in 700MHz band with a 2-by-10MHz channel arrangement.
Remember that even if -- or, more likely, when -- AT&T gets its hands on T-Mobile US Inc. 's AWS spectrum, that means it is getting another 20MHz swath nationwide to use for LTE. Where that could get potentially interesting is if AT&T does some channel-bonding tricks with its own AWS spectrum to bump up speeds in certain areas.
That kind of science project is probably at least a couple of years away, though.
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile