While T-Mobile is in the middle of all all-out advertising blitz, marketing their HSPA+ network as "America's largest 4G network," AT&T is busying upgrading their own network to HSPA+. AT&T CTO John Donovan told developers at the Sencha Conference in San Francisco, CA, that the carrier has upgraded 80 percent of its network to the HSPA+ technology. By the end of the year, AT&T expects to cover 250 million people. By comparison, T-Mobile says that they will cover 100 markets and 200 million customers with HSPA+ by the end of 2010. As for LTE, AT&T plans to launch the new tech by the middle of next year, just like we heard, and they plan to have 70-75 million people covered with LTE by the end of 2011.
The 4G wars are getting interesting, and it could be entertaining to see how things play out if AT&T does end up having more people covered with HSPA+ than T-Mobile does at the end of the year. As for AT&T's LTE plans, I'm surprised that they aren't trying to push the launch up sooner than they have it planned. Sprint already has a decent amount of WiMAX deployed across the country, Verizon is still supposed to light up 38 markets with LTE by the end of the year, and T-Mo is sticking to their guns with their HSPA+ network. As it stands, AT&T is going to be behind the game, both in their initial launch and probably at the end of 2011, as well. Let's hope that they have a killer handset selection coming up to make up for their lack of LTE, especially if the mythical Verizon iPhone does materialize.