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AT&T Says No LTE Phones Until Close to Year's End

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Aug 10, 2011, 11:12 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   @zeman_e

Speaking at a tech conference today, AT&T's senior vice president of mobility and consumer markets, Peter Ritcher, said that the company won't have a Long Term Evolution smartphone ready until late in 2011. The company's LTE network is still on track to launch in five markets this summer (Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio), but the first devices able to access the LTE network will be a laptop dongle and mobile hotspot. When Verizon Wireless launched its LTE network in December 2010, it also only provided laptop dongles for access. It didn't debut an LTE_equipped smartphone until March. AT&T's Ritcher indicated that the company is in no rush to deploy LTE and LTE handsets, and has focused instead on bolstering its HSPA+ network with enhanced backhaul. He specifically noted that AT&T is waiting for LTE handsets to mature. According to Ritcher, the company plans to take advantage of its LTE network to reduce the strain on its 3G network. "We will offload traffic to the spectrum for LTE and it will help with the performance of our 3G network, he said. Ritcher didn't provide and details about its first LTE smartphone.

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Aug 14, 2011, 8:13 PM

Why should they?

No reason to "invest" in upgrades, when between Verizon & AT&T, they have the USA market sewed up. Sprint & T-mobile? Yeah right...after the T gets bought by the death star, Verizon will, even though they say they won't, buy Sprint. With AT&T & Verizon owning the market, they can relax and quit spending money to upgrade to better or faster service. Why should they? Don't like the service hahahaha says AT&T, go to Verizon, we don't care. Don't like the service hahahahah says Verizon, go to AT&T, we don't care.

Aug 10, 2011, 12:24 PM

Hmmm... good call? Bad call?

I think it's a rather good call on AT&T's part. Sure, LTE may be faster than HSPA+, but the HSPA+ and enhanced backhaul benefits all users, not just those few who decide to shell out the extra dough for an LTE phone, plus it would help those with LTE phones since they can use HSPA+ as well.

I'm sure some people will come in saying that they should barrel into LTE, but I think building out what you have and working from there is the better idea.
Very true. Plus the build-out of HSPA+ benefits LTE users as the system has built-in scalability and reverse-compatibility. If you do leave an LTE footprint, you revert to HSPA+, HSPA, etc. instead of dropping out of higher-speed access completely.
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