AT&T talks up its LTE plans, reaffirms that first LTE handset is coming this yearAlex Wagner - Deputy Managing Editor, News Desk
There have been a number of questions surrounding AT&T and its new 4G LTE network ever since AT&T flipped the switch on it less than a month ago, covering topics like when the first LTE smartphones might be available and how AT&T plans to differentiate HSPA+ 4G and LTE 4G in its marketing. Today AT&T took the time to answer a few of those inquiries in a short Q&A with PCMag. The entire article is worth a read if you've got any interest in AT&T LTE, but some of the big points to take away from it include:
- AT&T says it clearly markets its two different types of 4G as "4G" (HSPA+) and "4G LTE." It also explains that it only advertises LTE in markets that have access to that network.
- Buying T-Mobile will bring "additional efficiencies and capacity gains" that AT&T says it wouldn't be able to get simply by pouring $39 billion into building new LTE-enabled towers and cell sites
- First 4G LTE handset is coming later this year
- Too soon to speculate about the possibility of AT&T LTE devices roaming on other LTE networks like the ones belonging to Verizon or MetroPCS
Obviously it's good to hear that AT&T's first LTE smartphone is still on track for release before 2011 is up, especially since the only LTE devices that AT&T currently offers are a pair of mobile broadband devices and an Android tablet. There's still no official word on precisely which handset will be given the honor of being AT&T's first LTE smartphone. Let's hope that when it is finally released, though, that AT&T will have rolled its 4G LTE network out to at least a few of the 10 markets that are slated to go live with LTE by the end of the year. After all, I'm sure that customers in markets other than Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio would like a shot at the first AT&T LTE smartphone, too.