updated 04:50 pm EDT, Tue October 5, 2010
LTE still not due until 2011
AT&T has unveiled its first USB modems designed to work with LTE and HSPA+ networks. The USBConnect Shockwave, built by Sierra, represents the carrier's first HSPA+ modem, while the Shockwave, manufactured by LG, is its first to offer future upgradeability to LTE.
The company has already begun its promised rollout of HSPA+, which is claimed to reach practical speeds of up to 7Mbps. Although the technology was initially slated only for a limited number of locations, it is now expected to be deployed throughout most of AT&T's existing 3G network.
While the HSPA+ upgrades should be finished by the end of the year, AT&T's LTE deployment will not arrive until the middle of 2011 or later. At that time, Shockwave owners will be able to download a firmware update to take advantage of the faster speeds.
The Shockwave is free with a two-year contract, while the Adrenaline carries a $50 price tag. AT&T also introduced the USBConnect 900, an $80 USB modem for pre-paid access to the DataConnect Pass service.