AT&T planning LTE for 2011

During all the excitement of the 2009 Mobile World Congress, AT&T has quietly acknowledged that it should have a fully ready Long Term Evolution (LTE) network in 2011. AT&T has pledged in the past to introduce the 4G Network in 2010 but, according to Senior Architecture VP Kris Rinne, will see the first phase limited to trials in 2010, with commercial services available the following year. This will put AT&T's 4G Network about a year behind Verizon's 4G network, which is for trials later this year with commercial services planned for 2010.

AT&T doesn't seem too worried about Verizon's time line, maintaining that it can rely on HSPA+ and have the advanced 3G networks reach 20Mbps sometime later this year through software upgrades. The LTE network theoretically is at least five times as fast in downloads, about 100Mbps and has a lower latency that should make multi-layer games, VoIP, and two way calling more practical than on 3G networks.

Speaking of time lines, it's probably safe to say that Apple's future plans for the iPhone could well be a factor here. On the other hand, it's entirely possible that AT&T has no idea what Apple's plans are.


Phil Nickinson

Phil is the father of two beautiful girls and is the Dad behind Modern Dad. Before that he spent seven years at the helm of Android Central. Before that he spent a decade in a newsroom of a two-time Pulitzer Prize-finalist newspaper. Before that — well, we don't talk much about those days. Subscribe to the Modern Dad newsletter!

  • Okay, WiMax, now is your time to shine. You have the window of opportunity - make the most of it.
  • right now Sprint/Clearwire cant get WIMAX off the ground. Its out in 2/3 cities with a whopping 9 by the end of 2009. They dont have much of a leg on VZW LTE, and if they cant kick it up theyre going to get eaten alive in the 4g realm.
  • Maybe they should concentrate on getting consistent 3G working first....
  • This is what it looks like when carriers have no formidable competition. There's no incentive to get current technology working properly ("we can just fix/upgrade it later"), which causes delays for next-generation technologies. In Japan, DoCoMo applied for LTE trials last year; au/KDDI plans to launch widespread WiMAX this year; DoCoMo will officially shut off its 2G network within this year; and newcomer carrier UQ Comm already has its WiMAX network up and running, with free service for 5000 of its early subscribers until June ($45/mo afterwards), and coverage for Tokyo and surrounding metro areas (which is already quite extensive).
  • yeah i agree they should get their 3g working first! cause it just sucks compared to sprint one on one sprint is above at&t in speed!