updated 10:35 am EST, Tue February 17, 2009
ATT on 4G Rollout
AT&T yesterday at Mobile World Congress acknowledged that it should have a fully ready Long Term Evolution (LTE) network in 2011. The carrier has previously pledged to introduce the 4G-grade cellular access during 2010 but has said through senior architecture VP Kris Rinne that this first phase will be limited to trials. Actual commercial service won't come until roughly the middle of the following year, Rinne says.
The timetable puts AT&T's 4G network about a year behind that of Verizon, which is planning to trial its own LTE network late this year and to start its first regular service in 2010. However, the provider has previously maintained that it can rely on HSPA+ and should use the advanced 3G to reach a peak 20Mbps sometime this year through a mostly software-only upgrade to existing HSPA networks.
LTE is theoretically over five times faster in downloads than AT&T's planned HSPA+, at about 100Mbps, and has lower latency that should make multiplayer games, VoIP and two-way video calling more practical than on 3G.