In late 2011, one of the sticking points for Verizon Wireless in broadly adopting Windows Phone was the lack of 4G LTE support. AT&T also took issue with this missing feature as strategically they are looking to offload network congestion to their new high-speed spectrum.
There was just one problem: the Windows Phone OS was not set to get LTE support till Windows Phone 8 aka "Apollo" in late in 2012. That's a long wait as six to nine months in smartphones is an eternity these days, especially when you're in a distant third in the smartphone race.
So how are we on the cusp of not one but two LTE Windows Phones in early 2012? We're told AT&T approached and asked them if they could bump up that feature set earlier. Microsoft in turn was receptive to such a request, much like how Microsoft Corporate VP Joe Belfiore or Brandon Watson take great strides to carefully listen to you, the customer.
To get support into the OS, Microsoft reportedly took members off of Apollo and re-appointed them to work on LTE for Mango Refresh (RC2) in order to meet market demands. Throw in Qualcomm, who has worked hard with Microsoft on chipset compatibility and Nokia, HTC and Samsung who were all eager to get more high end devices in the US and you have AT&T's new 4G Windows Phone lineup launching earlier than planned.