appears that 4G wireless technology is slowly becoming a widespread
reality in the U.S., with yesterday's
announcement of Verizon LTE coming to 30 cities by year's
end, and now, Fierce
AT&T plans to launch its own LTE network by mid-2011.
Operations CEO John Stankey announced the plans at a media and
communications summit. Stankey said that AT&T is conducting
trials of the 4G technology in Baltimore and Dallas, and that the
company's primary LTE partners are Sony Ericsson and
has seemingly accelerated its LTE timetable. Earlier
reports pinned technical trials to mid-2011, putting AT&T
behind Verizon by nearly two years in terms of 4G rollout. Now, that
number is more like six months. However, AT&T's LTE will cover,
at most, 75 million users by the end of 2011, while Verizon will have
100 million covered in the next few months. Stankey said that the
company's LTE deployment was different from the competitors', and
that it "needs to carry forward its UMTS services to ensure that
voice and data services can work simultaneously on both UMTS and
the beginning of the year, AT&T
announced plans to spend a considerable chunk of change on
upgrades to its current 3G network. Investor
that number at around $8 billion for this year alone. Stankey
mentioned some of these upgrades in his speech, adding that the
nation's second-largest wireless carrier plans to launch HSPA+ by
year's end. AT&T executives have said this will allow "real
world download speeds of 7 Mbps." Meanwhile, the cell sites that
have been upgraded to HSPA 7.2 will continue to upgrade backhaul.
has been a touchy topic for AT&T, ever since T-Mobile began
rolling the upgraded technology out touting "4G-like"
speeds. AT&T Mobility spokesperson Seth Bloom previously
told us, "I think that companies need to be careful that they're
not misleading customers by labeling HSPA+ as a 4G technology. We
aren't labeling those technologies as 4G."
his speech, Stankey admitted that he's "never satisfied"
with his own company's network, upgrades to which he said have been
impeded by shortages of parts from its vendors, totaling $300 million
in backlogged network equipment.
the Mobile Future Forward conference last week in Seattle, Fred
Devereaux, president of AT&T's west region, also admitted to the
carrier's network issues, TechFlash reports.
have a lot of work to do. I call it a success-based problem,"
Devereux said. "When you have 5,000 percent increases in
anything -- whether that is traffic, customers, data usage -- you
have a problem that the best engineers in the world will have trouble
trying to figure out.
the four major carriers in the U.S., we carry half of the mobile data
traffic. So, we put a lot of cars on our freeway and we are trying to
build bigger, faster freeways really fast."