has begun posting maps of its "4G" HSPA+ nationwide coverage on its website.
According to iClarified, the list of cities is
currently limited to those that have undergone the full backhaul upgrade. HSPA+
has been deployed to AT&T's entire network, but the higher speeds can only
be taken advantage of near sites where the "enhanced backhaul"
upgrade has been completed.
On AT&T's website, if you hit "Coverage" and then hover over the
cities where HSPA+ is fully functional, it allows you to click for more
detailed local 4G coverage. The areas include Bay Area, Calif.; Los
Angeles; NorCal, Calif.; Houston; Dallas; Chicago; Baltimore; Buffalo; Boston;
Providence, R.I.; Charlotte, N.C.; and Puerto Rico.
The only problem with the new coverage maps is that AT&T's claims to
"4G", like T-Mobile's (which has also deployed HSPA+), deserve
quotations or, at the very least, an asterisk. For much of the past year, AT&T
repudiated T-Mobile's labeling of HSPA+ as "4G", with an AT&T
rep stating, "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."
Then, earlier this year, AT&T
changed course -- likely realizing that Verizon's
burgeoning LTE network could spell bad news for a company that was
still advertising 3G -- and branded its HSPA+ network as "4G".
Turns out, none of the wireless carriers can
truly brag about 4G, despite the boldest claims of their marketers.