Print 22 comment(s) - last by GardyMajor.. on Feb 13 at 4:26 AM

Decision extends agreement already in place for 3G hardware

Today's 3G networks in many areas leave a lot to be desired no matter what carrier is used. The networks aren’t as fast as many users would like and in both rural and urban areas, the coverage of the networks is often patchy.

AT&T is the wireless provider that catches the most grief over its 3G network. This is particularly true with iPhone users who complain about a high percentage of dropped calls and slow data speeds. AT&T's network quality angered some iPhone users to the point that some were calling for a mass assault dubbed Operation Chokehold where users would all go online at the same time in an attempt to crash the AT&T network. This operation was a response to AT&T's threat to charge iPhone users more for using their unlimited data plans.

AT&T is working hard to fix its network issues and has pledged to spend huge sums of money in 2010 to improve its infrastructure with faster HSPA 7.2 speeds and preparations for the roll out of the AT&T LTE network late this year and in 2011. AT&T today announced that it has chosen the LTE equipment suppliers that will provide it with equipment to power its LTE network.

AT&T named Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson as the equipment suppliers for the LTE network deployment. Both of the suppliers are currently providing gear to AT&T for its 3G networks. AT&T reports that it tested equipment from many manufacturers in the field and in the lab and ultimately chose to extend the current relationships with Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson already in place.

One key to the decision was that both network hardware providers would provide AT&T with 3G equipment for its network today that can easily be upgraded for use with the faster HSPA 7.2 speeds coming soon and future LTE networks. This will prevent AT&T from needing to install new equipment in towers that it adds this year.

“The selection of Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson is an important step forward in our ongoing mobile broadband strategy, which is focused on delivering the best possible combination of speed, performance and available devices for customers at every level of technology deployment,” said John Stankey, president and CEO, AT&T Operations. “AT&T has a key advantage in that LTE is an evolution of the existing GSM family of technologies that powers our network and the vast majority of the world’s global wireless infrastructure today. As some competitors move away from their existing investment in niche 3G platforms, we are able to efficiently and quickly move toward LTE while enhancing our existing 3G performance and providing access to a strong ecosystem of customer devices.”

Part of the agreement also names Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson as the domain suppliers for the AT&T Radio Access Network Domain covering the equipment needed to deliver LTE service to customers. No financial terms for the deal with either provider were offered. AT&T claims that it has twice the number of smartphone users as its closest competitor and that its mobile broadband traffic has grown 5000% in the last three years, which goes right along with the introduction of the iPhone.

Verizon is also set to introduce LTE networks late in 2010 and in 2011 to its customers after originally stating LTE networks could debut in 2009.

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Let's be honest about the LTE rollout delay
By Lord 666 on 2/10/2010 10:24:18 AM , Rating: 4
It wasn't Verizon Wireless or AT&T's fault. Obama and his administration are the root cause for the delay. They felt is was more important to delay the analog to digital conversion for broadcast television for a bunch of stupid people who couldn't understand how to connect a converter box.

RE: Let's be honest about the LTE rollout delay
By sprockkets on 2/10/10, Rating: 0
RE: Let's be honest about the LTE rollout delay
By Lord 666 on 2/10/2010 10:44:56 AM , Rating: 1
Guess you were one of the stupid people who couldn't figure out to connect the converter box. What part did you find challenging; connecting the device or getting one at your local store?

RE: Let's be honest about the LTE rollout delay
By sprockkets on 2/10/10, Rating: -1
RE: Let's be honest about the LTE rollout delay
By Lord 666 on 2/10/10, Rating: 0
RE: Let's be honest about the LTE rollout delay
By sprockkets on 2/10/10, Rating: 0
RE: Let's be honest about the LTE rollout delay
By amanojaku on 2/10/2010 11:16:01 AM , Rating: 1
Nonsense. The original cutoff date for analog transmissions was Feb 17, 2009. The DTV Delay Act moved the date to June 12, 2009, a whole FOUR months.

Funny thing, though. The wireless spectrum was auctioned off in 2008, with the winning bidders expected to take possession in... June 2009. Had the DTV Delay Act impacted the LTE plans of the wireless carriers the FCC would have been sued.

RE: Let's be honest about the LTE rollout delay
By sprockkets on 2/10/10, Rating: 0
RE: Let's be honest about the LTE rollout delay
By AlexWade on 2/10/2010 1:06:24 PM , Rating: 1
Oh no! You use the "R" word. You should resign immediately. Unless you are a conservative talk show host, then I know you are using satire and then it is okay.

By grandpope on 2/11/2010 3:43:33 PM , Rating: 2

RE: Let's be honest about the LTE rollout delay
By Lord 666 on 2/10/2010 11:51:12 AM , Rating: 2
Feb 17, 2009 - Expected DTV transition
June 12, 2009 - Original extension
July 12, 2009 - Second and final extension
November 2009 - Functional VZW LTE test markets

So there were five months delay. VZW is on track for 2010 to rollout 25-30 markets covering 100 million people on LTE.

What part are you missing? DTV transition delay really did delay the LTE transition.

By amanojaku on 2/10/2010 1:09:45 PM , Rating: 1
Goddamn you're ignorant, and you spout your beliefs as if they were facts. The Short-term Analog Flash and Emergency Readiness (SAFER) Act, which was signed by BUSH back in 2008, stated that for 30 days after the DTV transition certain frequencies would provide an informational message in place of the old programming. The idea was to have an informational only service that explained why Analog broadcasts were unavailable for those who happened to try it after the DTV switch. Everyone knew the DTV switch wouldn't happen overnight, hence the buffer between Feb 17 (the original cutoff date) and July 12, when the informational broadcasts were to cease.

There WAS no delay. The 700MHz band was auctioned off as expected. Wireless carriers weren't supposed to use the LTE frequencies until AFTER July 12, 2009. Obama did nothing more than extend the broadcasters' cutoff up to the switch over date. Had he not done that the 700MHz spectrum would have done nothing for five months except broadcast a message saying analog service was no longer available.

And Verizon completed its tests in August of 2009, not November. It also had no plans on introducing LTE until 2010, partly because LTE equipment hadn't existed at the time of the DTV transition. The Rel-8 specification for LTE had only just been standardized in December of 2008. Demo equipment was available in Q1 of 2009, but production equipment was available in Q3 of 2009.

RE: Let's be honest about the LTE rollout delay
By mcnabney on 2/10/2010 1:19:35 PM , Rating: 2
The article is a little off. Verizon had two markets up and running with LTE in November and is in the process of building and turning them on thoughout 2010. Verizon will likely have more LTE coverage by the end of 2010 as AT&T has 3G coverage now. The facts are quite clear that AT&T is about a year behind in 4G and no amount of tinkering with 3G is going to change that.

More important, AT&T has a growing spectrum problem since their last auction purchases were to bolster inadequate mhz in cities - that still hasn't helped much. Verizon spent big at the last auction in anticipation of LTE while AT&T is trying to figure out how they can do it with the next opportunity to buy spectrum not coming for 2-3 years at best.

By GardyMajor on 2/13/2010 4:26:45 AM , Rating: 2
Verizon is always ahead of AT&T which is why I chose to buy a prepaid Straight Talk phone which runs on Verizon's network nationwide and gives me unlimited everything for $45 per month. So when Verizon goes national with LTE which will be a full year before AT&T does I will be right there with them.

By wiz220 on 2/10/2010 11:23:03 AM , Rating: 2
WOW!!! Lame Obama trolling RIGHT OUT OF THE GATE! On an article that I thought MIGHT have a chance at remaining politics free.

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