updated 01:40 pm EDT, Thu September 15, 2011
ATT commits to LTE release date at conference
Stepping outside of usual press releases, AT&T CFO John Stephens at the Merrill Lynch MEC conference set a date for the long promised LTE launch. The 4G network will go live on September 18 in the promised five cities, including Atlanta and Chicago as well as the Texas cities of Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio. The first devices are already on the market and include the HTC Jetstream tablet as well as the Elevate 4G and Momentum 4G.
Internet use on LTE hardware will be expensive to start, with a minimum $50 needed for 5GB of data.
AT&T's rollout will be more cautious than Verizon's and is estimated to hit 70 million potential users by the end of 2011. The rival network started in 38 cities, including larger ones like New York City, and has been expanding quickly since. A total of 26 new areas got access to Verizon's 4G just on Thursday.
The network is expected to get its first LTE smartphone through the HTC Holiday, sometimes nicknamed the Raider. Apple is known to be testing LTE but won't have iPads and iPhones on LTE until at least 2012.