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AT&T shows off "real-world" 28.8 Mbps LTE download speed

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 
During a media tour at an AT&T research lab, the carrier demoed its upcoming 4G Long Term Evolution network, which appeared to be significantly faster than rival Verizon, reaching download speeds of 28.87 Mbps and 10.4 Mbps for uploads.

GigaOM's Stacey Higginbotham toured AT&T's Foundry space in Plano, Texas on Wednesday with Jon Summers, the company's senior vice president of application and service infrastructure. Given that the lab is home to one of AT&T's trial LTE networks, Higginbotham asked for a demo.

The lab's LTE download speeds were more than seven times faster than the 3.77 megabits per second rate reached on AT&T's current HSPA network. Uploads over LTE posted an even more impressive improvement, with more than eight times the current speed of 1.21 Mbps over HSPA.

The test was conducted using a Multiple-Input and Multiple-Output (MIMO) antenna setup and two swaths of spectrum: 700 MHz and the Advanced Wireless Spectrum band. AT&T hopes to acquire more AWS band from its proposed purchase of T-Mobile USA.

AT&T engineers noted that the 28.87Mbps data rate is meant to model "real-world situations" for the Foundry lab, rather than the merely theoretical 150 Mbps speeds often demoed by carriers. However, the report did note that "sharing those speeds with others on a cell tower will bring them down."

Earlier this year, AT&T revealed plans to accelerate the deployment of LTE so that the network will be "largely complete" by the end of 2013.

By comparison, Verizon says its LTE network, which launched late last year, will have real-world data rates of between 5 and 12 Mbps downstream and 2 to 5 Mbps up. Verizon has also said its LTE network will be nationwide by the end of 2013.



Recent reports have suggested that Apple pushed back the launch of LTE-enabled iPhones to 2012 due to production issues with LTE chips and limited customer access to LTE. China Mobile announced Thursday that it had "reached consensus" with Apple to implement support for the carrier's 4G TD-LTE in a future version of the iPhone, but specific timing details remained unclear.

Verizon Wireless CEO Dan Mead said in February that Apple is working on an LTE iPhone. "You'll see more coming from Apple on LTE," he said. "They understand the value proposition of LTE and I feel very confident that they are going to be a part of it."
post #2 of 38
It'd be real nice if you could actually get those kind of speeds with AT&T's network.... That is if you could hold a signal with them!! j/k on a serious note will they be able to role out full coverage by the end of 2013 without the acquisition of T-mobile?
post #3 of 38
Daily I'm seeing commercials by AT$T saying how much they've been improving their network in my area (Denver). I'm sitting at home right now looking at my phone which says No Service. What a joke. I call them the "Call Failed" company. Just waiting and waiting for the Verizon iPhone 5...
post #4 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrispy View Post

Daily I'm seeing commercials by AT$T saying how much they've been improving their network in my area (Denver). I'm sitting at home right now looking at my phone which says No Service. What a joke. I call them the "Call Failed" company. Just waiting and waiting for the Verizon iPhone 5...

The quality of a network is more than just signal strength in your home. Where do you live in Denver, exactly? I know a at least one weak area near Cherry Creek where nobody in the neighborhood will let AT&T build a tower. It's a full court NIMBY press. Have you reported the low signal to AT&T?
post #5 of 38
That would be great if they didn't charge up the ass for it. Seems like prices keep going up with phone service. We're paying the same, or more for 3G today than we were four years ago now that everything is capped. And text message plans are the absolute biggest rip there is. I could see the iPhone 6 coming out in a year and a half with 4G and everyone bumping the mandatory data plans another 10 bucks in addition to the already absurd prices.
post #6 of 38
I always wondered why telecoms report these in bits and not bytes, as an aside.
post #7 of 38
Of course, 10 seconds of use on such a high-speed network would probably bust your data plan.

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post #8 of 38
1) I’d like to hear about AT&T continuing to add support for higher HSPA+ categories (higher speeds) and expand their HSPA+ coverage into more areas, than to here about LTE at this point when the chips are power inefficient.

2) I hope AT&T doesn’t use 1700MHz for LTE when Verizon is using 700MHz band. I especially hope they don’t plan to use 1700MHz for large, dense cities like SF and NY. Surely they’ve learned their lessons.
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post #9 of 38
And just get a different carrier. Not one provider is perfect or will be. Coverage will never be perfect nor will the price be so just get over it.

I live in hawaii on the country side and its a little slow on the broadband side. It doesn't bother me much cause once I'm in the city, the speed is always in the 3mbs downstream.

Also, I made a trip to Pittsburgh PA and the speed's were amazing!

All I want is LTE gosh damn it in my Iphone. I'll be waiting for the 2012 Iphone if the rumors are true with the iphone 5.
post #10 of 38
This will make the couple people in the US happy that are able to actually receive the signal.
post #11 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by september11th View Post

We're paying the same, or more for 3G today than we were four years ago now that everything is capped.

I guess we're paying more because we're getting more speed. It's expensive for the carriers to replace their networks with each new wireless generation. And caps? Who's capped? Not AT&T nor Verizon.
post #12 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by september11th View Post

That would be great if they didn't charge up the ass for it. Seems like prices keep going up with phone service. We're paying the same, or more for 3G today than we were four years ago now that everything is capped. And text message plans are the absolute biggest rip there is. I could see the iPhone 6 coming out in a year and a half with 4G and everyone bumping the mandatory data plans another 10 bucks in addition to the already absurd prices.

You are right about this. It is not just the phone/data/sms plan that costs money in a household... need a family plan. Then there are the cable bills, fixed line if any, plus internet, other utilities, etc. All add to a ton of money. A few need it for work, but most of the time it is just a waste of money and time.

If I had to, I could ditch it all. except for the internet and VoIP... use antenna for TV. But I would have a civil war with the rest of the household.
post #13 of 38
This should go nicely with my new data capped plan
post #14 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sofabutt View Post

This will make the couple people in the US happy that are able to actually receive the signal.

Problem will be when the third person tries to access the network and AT&T complains about abusing their network.

Of course I heard a rumor they were planning to roll out a tin can and string network as a fallback since it would provide basically the same service level they have now...
post #15 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by chabig View Post

The quality of a network is more than just signal strength in your home. Where do you live in Denver, exactly? I know a at least one weak area near Cherry Creek where nobody in the neighborhood will let AT&T build a tower. It's a full court NIMBY press. Have you reported the low signal to AT&T?

Let's see how important it is to crispy by actually answering your question.
post #16 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by september11th View Post

That would be great if they didn't charge up the ass for it. Seems like prices keep going up with phone service. We're paying the same, or more for 3G today than we were four years ago now that everything is capped. And text message plans are the absolute biggest rip there is. I could see the iPhone 6 coming out in a year and a half with 4G and everyone bumping the mandatory data plans another 10 bucks in addition to the already absurd prices.

You somehow envision Telcos absorbing several billion and reducing their fees to you? Seriously?
post #17 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkstar2007 View Post

It'd be real nice if you could actually get those kind of speeds with AT&T's network.... That is if you could hold a signal with them!!

Telcos are scum.
post #18 of 38
Typical "LAB RESULTS". Not real time. I get this is AT&T crying out to whomever will listen that they are still ligit. Lte will be released for Verizon in 3 parts...Phase one, what we are seeing today. Phase 2. 50 megabytes per second. Then Phase 3. Terabytes. I imagine that this is the same more or less with At&t...and the rest of the world that are all turning to LTE. I've seen 24 megabytes per second on my LTE android phone. (not in a lab). (also where I'm envious of the iphone... my battery could be better).
post #19 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by myapplelove View Post

I always wondered why telecoms report these in bits and not bytes, as an aside.

I guess fixed-line data standardised around 14.4kbps to 56kbps for a good few years in the years where the Internet really started taking root for consumers and businesses.

Ever since 2G data the numbers would be way too low if they reported it in bytes since they were comparing it to dial-up and DSL... Given that in most parts of the world (including the US and Europe) where you do not have 3G coverage, it drops to EDGE where ~500kbps(?) is the average you'll get. That's 0.5mbps (roughly) and a craptastically low megabyte/second number.

So the serious answer to your wondering is, it's a legacy thing. The less serious but probably also valid answer is, it's a marketing thing.

The business answer would be that with the amount of money pumped into 4G there is no way the telcos will move away from megabit/sec numbers, if they switched now to megabyte/sec everyone would get confused. Most people don't even know what "mbps" really is. That's why everything is marketed as "2" "3" or "4" "G". Even worse is that within that nomenclature your actual "real-world" speeds vary a lot. Everything is marketed as "up to" blah blah "mbps".
post #20 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

I guess fixed-line data standardised around 14.4kbps to 56kbps for a good few years in the years where the Internet really started taking root for consumers and businesses.

Ever since 2G data the numbers would be way too low if they reported it in bytes since they were comparing it to dial-up and DSL... Given that in most parts of the world (including the US and Europe) where you do not have 3G coverage, it drops to EDGE where ~500kbps(?) is the average you'll get. That's 0.5mbps (roughly) and a craptastically low megabyte/second number.

So the serious answer to your wondering is, it's a legacy thing. The less serious but probably also valid answer is, it's a marketing thing.

The business answer would be that with the amount of money pumped into 4G there is no way the telcos will move away from megabit/sec numbers, if they switched now to megabyte/sec everyone would get confused. Most people don't even know what "mbps" really is. That's why everything is marketed as "2" "3" or "4" "G". Even worse is that within that nomenclature your actual "real-world" speeds vary a lot. Everything is marketed as "up to" blah blah "mbps".

Here in Germany, traditionally many of the ISPs refer and market their speeds in the thousands, as in: 2000, 5000, 16000, etc. mainly due to the psychological effect similar to 0.99 cents: "16000?! OMG! Is that ever fast!" and "...0.99 cents?! What a deal, but I'll never pay a buck for it!"

However, they are starting to get with the program and advertise in MB's recently. If anyone is curious, here are the speeds and prices for LTE from Vodafone Germany (in German).
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post #21 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

You somehow envision Telcos absorbing several billion and reducing their fees to you? Seriously?

You realize, they are also making several billion? And I am a paying customer? Technology advances. They build 4G towers so they can keep their customers and stay competitive, NOT so they can charge more to everyone. Whose koolaid are you drinking? Apple will spend hundreds of millions developing an iPhone 5, but they wont charge 250 for it because its a new model. You pay a certain price, they upgrade, you get their upgrades and keep paying that adopted price. That's how most tech works. But the telcos keep bumping their prices not because they need to, but because they can get away with it because everyone needs a phone. If you cant come out with 4G at reasonable prices, don't roll it out yet and make it mandatory for users to pay more. People are not going to be able to keep buying these phones.
post #22 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThePixelDoc View Post

However, they are starting to get with the program and advertise in MB's recently. If anyone is curious, here are the speeds and prices for LTE from Vodafone Germany (in German).

(Darn Windows... Ended up closing my window trying to find the Euro sign... typing Ctrl Alt 2 or whatever that works so well on the Mac, does NOT, I forgot, work in Windows)

As I was saying, that's pretty impressive for an LTE offering. Prices are not too bad, though the download quotas are quite low for that level of speed. I could see people spending 100 Euros or more each month. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Where I am now in South East Asia I can get 5mbit to 10mbit cable instead of 1mbit DSL but the 1mbit and 2mbit DSL is currently unlimited. I've had broadband of various kinds for 10 years and quotas just suck the life out of me... Constantly worrying about it, plus having no control of other people in the house that use it.

What percentage of Germany is covered by LTE of over 20Mbit/sec?

Do they throttle the speed or charge for going over the quota?
post #23 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by september11th View Post

You realize, they are also making several billion? And I am a paying customer? Technology advances. They build 4G towers so they can keep their customers and stay competitive, NOT so they can charge more to everyone. Whose koolaid are you drinking? Apple will spend hundreds of millions developing an iPhone 5, but they wont charge 250 for it because its a new model. You pay a certain price, they upgrade, you get their upgrades and keep paying that adopted price. That's how most tech works. But the telcos keep bumping their prices not because they need to, but because they can get away with it because everyone needs a phone. If you cant come out with 4G at reasonable prices, don't roll it out yet and make it mandatory for users to pay more. People are not going to be able to keep buying these phones.

Telcos are scum. What are their quarterly profits? Exactly as you mention. Billions of dollars. On voice, SMS, data. The main reason they love smartphones and 4G is not the advancement of technology and enjoyment of consumers, it's all so they can charge more. That it has fueled the mobile, tablet and app revolution is secondary to the telcos.

That said, as a consumer, I'm willing to pay a bit more for the better experience. But to a point. I'm always looking for the best value, and I am glad my iPhone and iPad purchases and data packages have been work-related, and I've been able to shift between plans with certain flexibility. With a new 4G WiMax player on the scene in my country I dumped potentially more expensive and slower 3G plans for the iPad. I just carry my 4G MiFi around which is also useful for home (I can finally connect to Steam unlike using DSL for whatever reason). While it's not super speedy (only about 1-2mbit/sec), it is fairly reliable across various Internet services thus far.

Before that I dumped the exclusive iPhone carrier to another more sensibly-priced iPhone carrier. But not without its risks. I'm waiting one month (estimated) before they can even look at my iPhone4's flakey Home button. Why? Greed. They allocate stock for new contracts (chunky lucrative 2-year contracts only for iPhone4) but ignore replacement stock for repairs. I tell you, not having a functioning Home button is very, very irritating. Some clicks work, some don't, it totally destroys the iPhone4 experience. That the telco is openly displaying utter greed and getting away with it just rubs salt in the wound. They're fine otherwise, but like many telcos around the world when it comes to the iPhone they take the very most advantage of its popularity to squeeze whatever they can out of you. I can definitely empathise with those that have suffered under ATT and two year contracts.

With my iPhone4, the warranty is only one year and I can't terminate my contract and get it repaired by Apple. Here, only the telco you are under contract with will honor warranty claims. My iPhone4 now feels like a Porsche which only goes up to 50mph. I've done the Xcode kung fu on my iPad2 to use the multi-touch gestures for going to the Home screen and bringing up the multitasking bar, thus reducing my use of the iPad2 Home button... This Home button issue is an inherent design flaw (look it up) that could crop up in any iOS device. Yes, the iPad2 is covered by warranty but there are stock shortages which affect the replacement units as well.

All the perils of not having official Apple Stores in one's country... Mac, iPad, iPhone all great when you are able to get it and when it runs without issues. Frustrating when you do have to seek service and replacements. Again, thankfully these purchases have all been income-related.

</rant>
post #24 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

(Darn Windows... Ended up closing my window trying to find the Euro sign... typing Ctrl Alt 2 or whatever that works so well on the Mac, does NOT, I forgot, work in Windows)

As I was saying, that's pretty impressive for an LTE offering. Prices are not too bad, though the download quotas are quite low for that level of speed. I could see people spending 100 Euros or more each month. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Where I am now in South East Asia I can get 5mbit to 10mbit cable instead of 1mbit DSL but the 1mbit and 2mbit DSL is currently unlimited. I've had broadband of various kinds for 10 years and quotas just suck the life out of me... Constantly worrying about it, plus having no control of other people in the house that use it.

What percentage of Germany is covered by LTE of over 20Mbit/sec?

Do they throttle the speed or charge for going over the quota?


The coverage for LTE is rather poor at the moment, outside of big cities you're out of luck. http://www.vodafone.de/privat/hilfe-...abdeckung.html
As always, the speed is "up to" 50MBps. I suppose when you're in eye-contact with the tower. Walk 3 feet away and you're toasted.


As soon as the (rather low) quota is reached, your speed is capped to 64kbits, Almost unusable nowadays.


My DSL at home is currently unlimited, but the connection is so bad/unstable ( 1-2Mbps depending on the weather , abysmal upload speed) that I'm planning to switch to a 10GB-capped HSPA-plan that would allow me to reach 5-6 Mbps constantly, for 20/month
post #25 of 38
How much do these numbers mean? To me its like saying if you close Disneyland for the day you can ride a lot of rides without waiting in line. Your results will vary when we fill the park with people.
post #26 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Franck View Post

The coverage for LTE is rather poor at the moment, outside of big cities you're out of luck. http://www.vodafone.de/privat/hilfe-...abdeckung.html
As always, the speed is "up to" 50MBps. I suppose when you're in eye-contact with the tower. Walk 3 feet away and you're toasted.

As soon as the (rather low) quota is reached, your speed is capped to 64kbits, Almost unusable nowadays.

My DSL at home is currently unlimited, but the connection is so bad/unstable ( 1-2Mbps depending on the weather , abysmal upload speed) that I'm planning to switch to a 10GB-capped HSPA-plan that would allow me to reach 5-6 Mbps constantly, for 20€/month

Ah, at least in Europe the telcos aren't perfect either. I don't feel too bad now. 64kbit/sec cap and no guarantee of speed? Good start to the LTE rollout there.
post #27 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by junkie View Post

How much do these numbers mean? To me its like saying if you close Disneyland for the day you can ride a lot of rides without waiting in line. Your results will vary when we fill the park with people.

Bingo. Great analogy.
post #28 of 38
Can anyone here clarify if AT&T and Verizon LTE is the same "type" of LTE? From what I've been able to gather, it's similar in GSM in the sense that it's the same tech, but will probably be on different bands. Hence, to truly have a world GSM phone, it must be quad-band.

Will LTE be the same fashion? Will there be AT&T's preferred bands, and then Verizon's? Leaving it up to the handset manufacturer to include the potential "multi-band" LTE chip to cover both?

Ultimately, you could see where this is going... Would there be possible handsets made that will finally run on both major US networks, allowing the consumer to choose their preferred carrier based of other things than which handset is available?

I see this as some possible consumer leverage to finally keep prices competitive, especially if Apple can create the LTE iPhone (whenever that may be) to use every existing band out there.

Pulling the opposite way though, I see Android handset makers continuing separating the LTE networks on purpose to drive more sales of handsets due to "needing" to buy a new one if a consumer switches networks.

Maybe "world-wide LTE" will be another way for Apple to "bitch-slap" the carriers once again by not adhering to their norms?
post #29 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Object-X View Post

This should go nicely with my new data capped plan

I don't think cap means what you think it does. No US carrier has a capped data plan.
post #30 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

Ah, at least in Europe the telcos aren't perfect either. I don't feel too bad now. 64kbit/sec cap and no guarantee of speed? Good start to the LTE rollout there.

I'm not aware of speed guarantee (for DSL, cable, LTE, whatever) in Germany or France for private customers, only for business, and that's heavily linked to $$$.
post #31 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Element0f0ne View Post

Can anyone here clarify if AT&T and Verizon LTE is the same "type" of LTE? From what I've been able to gather, it's similar in GSM in the sense that it's the same tech, but will probably be on different bands. Hence, to truly have a world GSM phone, it must be quad-band.

Will LTE be the same fashion? Will there be AT&T's preferred bands, and then Verizon's? Leaving it up to the handset manufacturer to include the potential "multi-band" LTE chip to cover both?

Both Verizon and AT&T have similar frequencies for 4G LTE, 700MHz. Verizon picked up their spectrum allocation at an FCC auction several years ago. The 700MHz frequencies became available due to the migration from analog to digital television. The other company to purchase significant amounts of 700MHz spectrum was Qualcomm.

AT&T subsequently purchased Qualcomm's 700MHz spectrum frequencies.

Neither Sprint nor T-Mobile USA have any 700MHz spectrum. Sprint is piggybacking off of Clearwire's WiMax network for 4G. T-Mobile USA was stuck in a rock and a hard place because of their lack of available spectrum to develop 4G services, one of their reasons for wanting to merge with AT&T.
post #32 of 38
Now I can use up my monthly data even faster. Really, what is the point if the main reason for having 4G --video streaming, for example -- is made prohibitively expensive by tiered data plans?
post #33 of 38
Perhaps the carriers will eventually increase the bandwidth thresholds for each tier.
post #34 of 38
Thanks!
post #35 of 38
That "real world" speed is just under six times my home Internet connection. Impressive!

After reading the other posts it seems as though AT&T are not that spectacular and expensive. It kinda makes me appreciate the service I get in the UK for my iPhone4 - £35 a month and I probably get more of everything a month, haha! Though I imagine the UK won't see 4G until a fair few years after the USA - hell, portions of the UK still don't even have broadband Internet, let alone cable or fibre Internet...

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post #36 of 38
How can it be 'real-world' if the product does not even exist yet to be tested in the real world?????

The head should have read a "Lab Test" .......
post #37 of 38
A real "Lab test" world, in fact.
post #38 of 38
And we reach our 250 MB data cap on AT&T faster than we can imagine.

EDIT: Damnit, SpamSandwich beat me to it.

BTW, to the person who said there was no data capped plans in the US, there are data caps on data plans on AT&T's wireless network in the US. They ONLY offer data capped plans to new customers.

But on another topic, this explains why T-Mobile is so interested in expanding 3G's usable speeds. Supposedly they've gotten 4G speeds on 3G, almost negating the need to switch to 4G until much much later.
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