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Early signs promising for AT&T LTE network speeds

Telefonica is seeing huge demand for video and cloud services

AT&T’s LTE network, which launched on Sunday, is delivering impressive speeds, according to initial testing from Signals Research cited by Mobile Business Briefing. The operator launched its LTE network in Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, San Antonio and Houston, and at the latter location the analyst house achieved an average speed of 23.6Mbps after downloading a hefty 90GB of data over a three-day period using a Sierra Wireless USBConnect Momentum 4G dongle.

The peak download speed reported were a very high 61.1Mbps, leading the firm to comment that, “Both results meaningfully exceeded our expectations.” AT&T already offers a HSPA+ service with a theoretical peak rate of 21Mbs and Signals Research noted that during the test period this was exceeded for 38.2 per cent of the time, while for 8.6 per cent it was higher than 40Mbs. Speeds remained above 5Mbps for 95 per cent of the time.

The uplink speeds of 15.2Mbps average ant 23.6Mbps peak prompted Signals Research to say: “The uplink results were also much higher than we anticipated.”

Latency was not quite as spectacular however, coming in at between 40-49ms. Handover between LTE and the HSPA+ network was reported as 2.4 seconds, which was described as “relatively seamless”.

While very impressive, the results have to be put into context as testing was done on a virtually empty LTE network and inevitably speeds will drop once consumers start to use the service. Verizon states that consumers can expect to achieve between 5-12Mbps download and 2-5 Mbps on the upload for its service and most analysts expect AT&T to be around this figure once its network is subject to great strain.

However, the fact that its network can falls back to HSPA+ means that users are likely to experience less of a downshift outside of LTE coverage compared to Verizon, with employs older CDMA technology for 3G. However, AT&T has some way to go to catch Verizon’s LTE coverage, which currently stands at 143 markets covering a potential 160 million users.

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