Apple's popular iPad tablet might be gaining access to AT&T and Verizon's 4G LTE networks, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Network operators AT&T
and Verizon Wireless plan to launch a version of Apples best-selling iPad
tablet on their respective fourth-generation wireless networks, according to a
report in The Wall Street Journal.
Apple is widely reported to be releasing the latest version of the iPad in
Tablet devices and
smartphones can be lucrative devices for operators who can lure customers with
high-speed data plans; however, Verizons Long-Term Evolution (LTE) 4G network
recently suffered three data outages in December, raising questions as to
whether 4G networks are ready. Tablets like the iPad are also much more likely
to consume vast amounts of data than traditional smartphones.
The paper interviewed
Richard Doherty, director of research firm Envisioneering Group, who said
an LTE iPad would test how well carriers' networks could handle heavier data
use. "The new iPad will test carriers to see how robust their networks
are," Doherty said. 4G networks are expected to generate even greater
amounts of traffic, as their faster speeds will let users watch entire movies
over wireless networks instead of short clips.
Analysts with IHS iSuppli,
in a Jan. 31 report, said they now expect global capital spending on LTE
technology to reach $24.3 billion in 2013, nearly tripling the $8.7 billion
expected to be spent in 2012. In 2015, LTE spending is expected to reach $36.1
billion, compared with $9 billion on 3.5G technologies, ending the latter's five-year
run. Revenue from 3.5G technology, the research firm added, is likely to reach
$19.8 billion in 2013.
Verizon recently celebrated
the one-year anniversary of the launch of its 4G service. Sixteen devices are
currently available to run on the 4G network, including eight smartphones, such
as the Droid Razr, and tablets, such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab. Consumer demand
for Apple iPhones and Android devices on its 4G network boosted Verizon's
third-quarter financial performance, company executives said during Verizon's
Oct. 21 earnings call. The 4G network grew more quickly than anticipated, which
is currently available in 165 markets and covers a population of more than 186
million, the company said.
AT&T on Jan. 31 shared
that from 2009 through 2011 it spent $3.5 billion improving networks in
Illinois alone. It deployed faster fiber-optic connections to nearly 625 cell
sites, which in combination with Evolved High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA+)
technology, enables 4G speeds, and launched LTE in Chicago. While AT&T is
still catching up to Verizon in terms of LTE network coverage, consumers are
increasingly relying on AT&T WiFi access to connect in more places from
more devices, which the company recommends to save on data usage in their
wireless data plans.
Connections nearly tripled
in the third quarter 2011 (up more than 282 percent), versus connections made
in the third quarter of 2010. Users now make 100 million AT&T WiFi
connections per month, and WiFi connections in a single month now exceed the
total connections made in all of 2009 and are five times the total connections
made in 2008.
Nathan Eddy is Associate Editor, Midmarket, at eWEEK.com. Before joining eWEEK.com, Nate was a writer with ChannelWeb and he served as an editor at FierceMarkets. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.