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AT&T adds new 4G LTE markets, two new 4G Android phones

post #1 of 20
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AT&T announced it will expand its 4G LTE coverage from 5 markets to 9 this week, while also introducing two new 4G Android phones. Apple's iPhone users on AT&T should benefit from sharing the same improved backhaul as LTE.

AT&T said it will expand its 4G LTE service currently limited to Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio, adding new support in the Athens, GA, Baltimore, Boston, and Washington D.C. markets. It plans to expand service to 15 markets in the US by the end of the year.

At the same time, the carrier is introducing its first 4G LTE phones, the HTC Vivid and Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket. Previously, AT&T's LTE network as only been accessible via laptop WWAN dongles.

Apple hasn't introduced LTE support in its iPhone lineup, instead offering three 3G models on AT&T's network: the iPhone 3GS with support for 7.2 Mbps HSDPA (downloads) but only 384 kbps uploads; an iPhone 4 capable of 7.2 Mbps HSDPA (downloads) and 5.76 HSUPA (uploads); and the new iPhone 4S with support for 14.4 Mbps HSDPA (downloads) and 5.76 HSUPA (uploads).

The faster new HSUPA upload support in iPhone 4 resulted in much faster uploads last year, and the twice as speedy download potential of the iPhone 4S should similarly make a big difference to users, if the carriers actually support its potential from the tower to their backbone networks.

AT&T's efforts to build out 4G LTE is therefore not exclusive to benefitting 4G phones. Because the carrier's existing HSPA network is served by the same backhaul service, the improvements made to support 4G service will also increase throughput for iPhone 3GS, 4 and 4S users. The company now depicts HSPA service as darkest blue "4G" on a map next to the few starred cities where 4G LTE is available.



Preliminary results of testing iPhone 4S across all three US carriers indicates that AT&T's data network is already far faster than the competing CDMA EvDo networks of Verizon and Sprint, although AT&T's 3G coverage does not offer as much coverage in all areas.

That reality has resulted in Sprint and Verizon working to build out the next generation of 4G networks earlier, while AT&T has worked to build LTE in tandem with improving upon its existing HSPA/HSPA+ network, which is capable of delivering competitive data service with 4G speeds to many of today's phones, at lower battery consumption rates.

In many markets however, AT&T isn't yet exploiting even the 7.2 Mbps capacity of the 2009 iPhone 3GS, stating earlier this month to developers that "AT&T has engineered its network so that most users' experience typical downlink throughput rates of 700 kilobits per second (Kbps) to 1.7 Mbps, with bursts over 1 Mbps. Typical uplink rates are 500 Kbps to 1.2 Mbps."

Verizon began selling both 4G Android phones and a CDMA 3G EvDo-capable iPhone 4 earlier this year, but has consistently reported that it was selling more iPhone 4 units than all of its 4G models and devices combined. In the most recent third quarter, Verizon reported sales of 2 million iPhone 4 (at the time over a year old as a model) but only 1.4 million LTE devices of any kind.

Sprint has similarly heavily promoted its own 4G service and Android phones this year, but invested billions to carry the iPhone after noting that Apple's smartphone was the primary reason it was losing subscribers.
post #2 of 20
Ooh. Five to nine. Huge jump. Big difference.

Call me when they decide to bring their phone service proper to places formerly under Centennial before the buyout. Or call me when they drop mandatory data. Whichever comes first.

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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Originally Posted by helia

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post #3 of 20
No plans for NYC anytime soon?

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post #4 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Ooh. Five to nine. Huge jump. Big difference.

Call me when they decide to bring their phone service proper to places formerly under Centennial before the buyout. Or call me when they drop mandatory data. Whichever comes first.

When they get 80% of users covered with LTE then that'll be something. It'll also be around the time an LTE chip is about as power hungry as the '3G' chip in the 2nd gen. iPhone.
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post #5 of 20
Haven't really felt like 4G is a must have. So maybe I will want it in lets say 3 years? yep I think thats how long it will take for me to benefit from it in my area.
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An Apple man since 1977
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post #6 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Ooh. Five to nine. Huge jump. Big difference.

Call me when they decide to bring their phone service proper to places formerly under Centennial before the buyout. Or call me when they drop mandatory data. Whichever comes first.

Governmental right-of-way issues (including citizen complaints) and cost are two factors which heavily influence whether a carrier get even get permits to construct new towers or in this case, swap out radios. Unless you have worked in the industry you cannot know how each city is different and how recalcitrant they can be.

Putting up a new network is no easy task.
post #7 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Psych_guy View Post

Putting up a new network is no easy task.

Verizon seems to be doing all right. Wonder what the difference with AT&T could possibly be beyond feet-dragging.

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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post #8 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by tylerk36 View Post

Haven't really felt like 4G is a must have. So maybe I will want it in lets say 3 years? yep I think thats how long it will take for me to benefit from it in my area.

Why? By the time 4G is ubiquitous in the U.S., you'll be calling it "too slow" and waiting for 5G.

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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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post #9 of 20
Gotta say that download and upload speeds on my 4S are great. Even in my small town in Idaho I am getting ~6 Mbps down and ~1.5 Mbps up on AT&T.

My friend with a Verizon iPhone 4 gets about 1/10th of that here.

That said... it pales in comparison to the 50 Mbps I just got at my house today!
post #10 of 20
Now the giant buy in they had to start with in Texas seems a little weird. I know those are all 3 major metro areas, but such a heavy focus on Texas was odd. The new cities, 3 of them at least make sense. Boston, Baltimore and DC are all huge areas, and Baltimore and DC are close enough their service areas may well overlap. Why the hell are they adding Athens GA tho? It's less than 200k people. Does Bill Berry have that much pull and demand 4G service or something?

Adding big metro areas quickly makes sense. Your total millions you have covered goes up very quickly that way. I'm just curious why someplace like Athens would be chosen when you have so many million+ cities in the US. Heck, I live in Louisville KY and while Jefferson county lists in the 6-700k range, the total metro area including the nearby areas of Indiana pushes us over a million. Yet until Verizon just added LTE here, we weren't even listed on a roadmap for anyone. I don't really care if we have it, I'm on Sprint, it's just weird the order some of these choices happen.

Yes I'm aware Sprint is switching from WiMax to LTE and should have most of the US covered by the end of 2013. Which is convenient, I'm getting a new iPhone by the end of January and I'll be in the market for a new one around the time 4G is basically ubiquitous
post #11 of 20
In rural NC, where I get 3 bars, I'm getting 3.8mbps down and .8 up. (4S on ATT)

Wi-fi at the house is 16.38m down and 4.1 up.

I seldom if ever find myself waiting for data, even a hefty picture.
post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by SSquirrel View Post

Now the giant buy in they had to start with in Texas seems a little weird. I know those are all 3 major metro areas, but such a heavy focus on Texas was odd. The new cities, 3 of them at least make sense. Boston, Baltimore and DC are all huge areas, and Baltimore and DC are close enough their service areas may well overlap. Why the hell are they adding Athens GA tho? It's less than 200k people. Does Bill Berry have that much pull and demand 4G service or something?

I don't know what AT&T are up to with the LTE rollout in Texas, but it's relatively easy to put up new towers and upgrade equipment there, plus, Texas cities are mostly flat terrain with minimal natural obstructions to line of sight signaling. In other words, when New York and San Francisco cry about AT&T coverage, the Texans shrug their shoulders and enjoy 5 bars everywhere they go with nary a dropped call, ever.

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post #13 of 20
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Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

I don't know what AT&T are up to with the LTE rollout in Texas, but it's relatively easy to put up new towers and upgrade equipment there, plus, Texas cities are mostly flat terrain with minimal natural obstructions to line of sight signaling. In other words, when New York and San Francisco cry about AT&T coverage, the Texans shrug their shoulders and enjoy 5 bars everywhere they go with nary a dropped call, ever.

I seem to recall an article detailing how quickly and cheaply a tower could get approved and buildpt in TX compared to other cities. I forget the specifics but the disparity was astounding.
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post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by SSquirrel View Post

Now the giant buy in they had to start with in Texas seems a little weird. I know those are all 3 major metro areas, but such a heavy focus on Texas was odd. The new cities, 3 of them at least make sense. Boston, Baltimore and DC are all huge areas, and Baltimore and DC are close enough their service areas may well overlap. Why the hell are they adding Athens GA tho? It's less than 200k people. Does Bill Berry have that much pull and demand 4G service or something?

I am sure it also has to do with the fact that AT&T is headquartered in Dallas, TX. AT&T also has a major wireless presence in Atlanta, GA with another secondary hq building which is where all the internal changes took place for the Cingular Wireless merge back in 2004.
post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by tylerk36 View Post

Haven't really felt like 4G is a must have. So maybe I will want it in lets say 3 years? yep I think thats how long it will take for me to benefit from it in my area.

That's probably because you've never used an actual 4g phone at 4g speeds.

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post #16 of 20
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Originally Posted by MaroonMushroom View Post

That's probably because you've never used an actual 4g phone at 4g speeds.

Or maybe different people have completely different needs and he doesn't need it right now.

But no, that wouldn't jive with your worldview, so it can't possibly be true.

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply
post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Or maybe different people have completely different needs and he doesn't need it right now.

But no, that wouldn't jive with your worldview, so it can't possibly be true.

That depends on his phone. If he has an iPhone, then he has no choice. Of course, we'll see how everyone's views change with the 6th generation iPhone.


Data limits prevent me from even wanting 4G. It's like giving a kid with braces laffy taffy......
post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by linkgx1 View Post

Data limits prevent me from even wanting 4G. It's like giving a kid with braces laffy taffy......

I approve of that analogy.

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
Reply
post #19 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

I approve of that analogy.

Lolz, it's so true though! T-Mobile has fast speeds, but I hate the throttling/limits. It's decent for posting on crap like this but not for Netflix or gaming. I mean, for regular websites, we're already at the piont of diminising returns. Anything faster than the blink of an eye is a bit irrelvenat to me. The bigger impact would be on movies and downloads.

I think that's why Apple has chosen NOT go with 4G yet. Half of the stuff you do with the phone has to do with the App store. And I'd rather wait to get home to download the apps. I more or less use the internet for information anyways than necesarritly hardcore surfing. A little here, a little there. I'm usually playing Infinity Blade anywho or listening to LMFAO....
post #20 of 20
Well, it is AT&T. They're probably still paying for all that 3G capacity they added (well) after they got the iPhone 3G. Gotta add enough to be able to sell 4G phones with a straight face, then start building the real network once they get 20-25 million 4G phones sold.

On a positive note, at least they're not Sprint, charging a $10 monthly 4G surcharge to every customer with a 4G device despite the fact that the closest 4G signal is several states away.
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