AT&T's first LTE-enabled devices will make their debut in the carrier's stores and online starting Aug. 21. There's more 4G hardware due in months to come.
AT&T's first LTE/HSPA+ devices will reportedly arrive in
the carrier's stores (and online) starting Aug. 21.
The AT&T USBConnect Momentum 4G and AT&T Mobile
Hotspot Elevate 4G are designed to leverage AT&T's coming 4G LTE network. The
carrier plans on charging a monthly $50 for 5GB, and $10 for each additional
gigabyte thereafter. On Aug. 26, AT&T will also offer LTE upgrading-via a
downloadable update-for its USBConnect Adrenaline.
AT&T plans on rolling out 4G service in five
metropolitan areas later in 2011. Those markets include Chicago, Atlanta,
Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. By the end of this year, the carrier plans on
expanding to 15 markets, which it claims will cover some 70 million Americans.
Customers outside the 4G coverage area will have access to AT&T's speedy HSPA+
For AT&T and its carrier rivals, 4G represents the next
big opportunity and battleground for consumers' hearts and wallets. In coming
quarters, a new slate of 4G-capable tablets and smartphones will arrive on the
market, promising ultra-fast streaming and downloading speeds.
Speaking of new smartphones due to arrive on the market, the
blog Engadget reported (based on an anonymous tipster) that AT&T's LTE 4G
equipment had been installed in an unnamed Apple retail store. "Making things
somewhat more interesting is the equipment itself, one piece of which supports
only the 700MHz and AWS bands," read
the Aug. 16 posting
, "both of which AT&T plans to use for its LTE
network if the T-Mobile acquisition goes through."
That report, of course, has kicked off blogosphere chatter
over whether Apple plans to produce a 4G-enabled device in the near future,
although the rumor mill surrounding the upcoming iPhone 5 has yet to produce
anything substantial to that effect.
The iPhone aside, manufacturers are prepping 4G devices for release.
AT&T will carry Hewlett-Packard's TouchPad 4G, for example, and Sprint
continues to push its own line of 4G smartphones. Verizon also has several
4G products in the works
For the past few months, the wireless industry as a whole
has been pushing the Federal Communications Commission to free up more
bandwidth spectrum and remove obstacles to 4G deployment, claiming they face a
severe spectrum squeeze. At this year's CTIA conference in Orlando, Fla., heads
of the major wireless telecoms used their respective talks to push more
spectrum as a driver of economic growth.
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