AT&T has released two devices that can access the company's 4G LTE network: a mobile WiFi hotspot and a USB stick. With the USBConnect Momentum 4G, customers can access 4G LTE speeds, where available, and when out of range have access to the company's nationwide HSPA+ network, delivering 4G speeds when combined with enhanced backhaul. They can also access unlimited usage on AT&T's entire national WiFi network if using a post-paid data plan, and manage their connections and data usage with the preloaded AT&T Communication Manager.
The company's first 4G LTE mobile hotspot device, the Mobile Hotspot Elevate 4G, allows access to 4G LTE speeds on up to five WiFi-enabled devices in select markets. The hotspot allows users to email, browse, download presentations and more on LTE or AT&T's nationwide HSPA+ network. With no software to install and an LCD screen to guide you, setting up requires users to just power it up and connect a notebook using the WiFi network name and security key displayed on the screen.
Users can also view device and connection status on the LCD, including battery status, signal strength and data usage. In addition to 4G speeds and an expandable memory slot, both Sierra Wireless-manufactured devices support global connectivity in more than 200 countries at international roaming rates.
AT&T will begin selling the AT&T USBConnect Momentum 4G in black and silver for $49.99 with a two-year contract after a $50 mail-in rebate. The AT&T Mobile Hotspot Elevate 4G will be available in black for $69.99 with two-year contract and after a $50 mail-in rebate. AT&T expects both devices will be available this summer online and in company-owned retail stores.
The company recently announced plans to roll out its 4G LTE network in five markets-Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio-later this summer. Customers with compatible devices and 4G LTE coverage in those markets will be able to access 4G LTE speeds as AT&T's 4G LTE network is turned up.
"AT&T recognizes that customers want a consistent, responsive network performance from major cities to their neighborhood. Our deployment of 4G LTE technology backed by our nationwide HSPA+ network allows us to give customers a superior mobile broadband experience today and for years to come," said Jeff Bradley, senior vice president of devices for AT&T mobility and consumer markets. "As we begin to roll out our 4G LTE network this year, AT&T customers will be able to choose from several new LTE devices, starting with the AT&T USBConnect Momentum 4G and AT&T Mobile Hotspot Elevate 4G."
As AT&T rolls out 4G LTE, customers outside of its 4G LTE footprint will have access to AT&T's HSPA+ network. When combined with enhanced backhaul, HSPA+ enables 4G speeds that are up to four times faster than AT&T's mobile broadband speeds. Because AT&T has taken the step of deploying HSPA+ technology with enhanced backhaul, its customers will have access to mobile broadband speeds when moving out of 4G LTE areas.
The company said it also plans to offer 4G LTE to customers in at least 15 markets by the end of 2011, covering 70 million Americans. In addition, the company plans to add 20 4G devices to its portfolio this year, with some of those being LTE-compatible.