Itching to give AT&T's LTE network a go after it achieved download speeds of 28.8Mbps in a recent test? Well, if you live in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston or San Antonio, you'll be one of the first to have the opportunity to do just that. AT&T announced this morning that those five cities will be the first markets where its LTE network will be deployed, although it didn't say exactly when its LTE coverage will go live outside of a vague "this summer" timeframe. For those of you not in one of those five cities, don't fret, as AT&T said it plans to roll out LTE to 10 "or more" other markets before the end of the year. It didn't mention which markets those would be, but AT&T did say that it intends to cover 70 million people with its LTE by the end of 2011. AT&T also reiterated its plans to launch 20 4G devices in 2011, although it didn't say how many would be HSPA+ and how many would be LTE.
Just because AT&T is touting its LTE plans doesn't mean that its forgetting about its HSPA+ network, though, as it said that it'll continue to build that network out until its LTE coverage is more widespread. AT&T said that it expects to have two-thirds of its base stations upgraded with enhanced backhaul by the end of 2011.
So there you have it. It's good to see AT&T inching closer to finally rolling out its LTE network, although it is kind of disappointing that only around 15 markets will have access to AT&T LTE through the end of 2011, especially considering how many markets Verizon has been lighting up with its own LTE network lately. Are any of you in one of the first five AT&T LTE markets? Will you be giving the network a shot when it goes live?
AT&T's 4G Evolution
Dallas, Texas, May 25, 2011
By John Donovan, AT&T Chief Technology Officer
AT&T has delivered five mobile broadband speed upgrades in recent years, including our HSPA+ deployment last year. And average nationwide speeds on the AT&T network have increased – more than 40 percent over the past two years alone.
The next network evolution will arrive this summer with the addition of LTE in five markets – Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Atlanta and San Antonio. We plan to add another 10 or more markets in the second half of the year, and cover 70 million Americans with LTE by year-end. We also have plans to add 20 4G devices to our robust device portfolio this year, with some of those being LTE capable.
We're positioning to deliver a great mobile broadband experience in the near term with HSPA+ and a growing LTE footprint.
We've invested $75 billion in our wireless and wired networks over the last four years – more capital invested in the U.S. than any company in any industry. And we plan to invest $19 billion in our wireless and wireline networks and other capital projects this year. The investments we've made to evolve our mobile broadband network in recent years, plus what we have planned for the future, put our customers in position to benefit fully from a host of coming mobile broadband innovations.