AT&T to launch LTE in mid-2011

AT&T will continue to invest in and develop its HSPA network to HSPA+, with the aim of launching LTE in the summer

US carrier AT&T has revealed more of its plans to deploy LTE technology in the US, ahead of a proposed launch in the summer of 2011.

Speaking at the Bank of America Merrill and Lynch Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference today in California this week, AT&T operations CEO, John Stankey, said that the carrier will continue to invest in and develop its HSPA network to HSPA+, with the aim of launching LTE in the summer. Stankey said AT&T is aiming to cover between 70 million and 75 million people with 4G by the end of 2011.

Meanwhile, rival player Verizon Wireless unveiled plans to launch LTE in the US by the end of 2010 with a focus on the 30 metro areas with National Football League teams.

Verizon’s approach is an unusual one, but falls in line with expectations that operators will firstly deploy LTE in areas with high demand for data and the greatest revenue potential. Bengt Nordstrom, CEO of analyst firm Northstream, believes that while LTE is bigger, better mobile broadband, it is not a big differentiator in itself for an operator and unlike HSPA, will likely not create new markets or opportunities “out of thin air” for new players.

Instead, Nordstrom said, “LTE is a migratory strategy for existing operators with HSPA, who can pace their launch of the technology in line with the revenue from their existing business. Smart operators will plan their evolution to LTE as a stepped investment funded by the increasing growth of HSPA mobile broadband.”

LTE will however enable a greater number of services, by being a bigger, faster, and more efficient transport network.

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One comment

  1. Kenneth Trueman 20/09/2010 @ 2:49 pm

    Verizon’s strategy means that Green Bay, Wisconsin, will have LTE coverage before Los Angeles does, since it does not have an NFL franchise. Hehe.

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