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Monday September 19, 2011 2:59 pm

AT&T 4G LTE compared to Verizon 4G LTE


AT&T 4G LTE reviewAT&T officially dipped its toe into the waters of higher-speed mobile communications today with the debut of the company's 4G LTE network – yes, that's 4G LTE, not just "4G" – in five launch cities: Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio, Houston, Atlanta, and Chicago.

And it's safe to say that mobile users aren't going to be overtaxing the service anytime soon, as there currently aren't any AT&T handsets that would actually be able to make use of the new network. Users would have to pick up either AT&T's USBConnect Momentum 4G modem, Elevate 4G mobile hotspot, or USBConnect Adrenaline in order to get Wi-Fi friendly devices or laptop and desktop PCs connected up to 4G LTE. Those, or the recently announced HTC Jetstream 10.1-inch tablet, which promises to support both AT&T's 4G LTE and "4G" network, or HSPA+.

That's a big difference that's worth highlighting, as it's sure to ensnare neophyte consumers who can't understand why their "4G" devices don't work on AT&T's new network. We're talking different technologies: 4G LTE isn't 4G, or HSPA+. The latter's more closely related, technology-wise, to a 3G network. And it's worth noting that 3G devices aren't themselves compatible with an HSPA+ network. Got it?


AT&T plans to expand its 4G LTE network to a total of 15 cities by year's end. As well, the company expects to have a few bona fide 4G LTE smartphones on the market come the holiday season.

"We've invested $75 billion in our wireless and wired networks over the last four years – more capital invested in the U.S. than any company in any industry," wrote AT&T CTO John Donovan in May. "And we plan to invest $19 billion in our wireless and wireline networks and other capital projects this year."

Chief rival Verizon Wireless, however, is likely scoffing at AT&T's 4G LTE debut. The company just recently announced that it was expanding its own 4G LTE network to 26 new cities – five times that of AT&T's total portfolio of 4G LTE launch cities – which brings Verizon's total market count to 143. As well, Verizon's 4G LTE network, all of nine months old, has a total of eleven different devices that can connect up: This includes four different smartphones, one tablet, and a variety of laptops, hotspots, and modems.

This article, written by David Murphy, originally appeared on PCMag.com and is republished on Gear Live with the permission of Ziff Davis, Inc.

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