After launching its new 4G LTE service in Seattle days before the iPhone 5 launch, AT&T is now launching its faster data service in Tacoma, Washington, as well as Federal Way, Lakewood, Puyallup, and Auburn. Additionally, LTE expansion upgrades are now live in Seattle, Bothell, Bellevue, Kirkland, Edmonds, Lynnwood, Renton, Redmond, Tukwila, and Woodinville. AT&T plans to officially announce the enhancements tomorrow. Of course, you'll need an LTE-compatable AT&T device to take advantage of the faster speeds.
If there's one feature to sway AT&T iPhone customers over to Verizon, it's the fact that Big Red has launched LTE in a ton of markets while AT&T plays catch-up. Tonight, AT&T closed the gap a bit with the launch of its LTE network in both Seattle and Portland, two major metropolitan areas that may have otherwise seen a hefty exodus when the iPhone 5 launches this Friday. Being that Gear Live is based here in the Seattle area, we started getting reports from a bunch of readers that their Lumia 900 devices were all of a sudden showing LTE connectivity. Sure enough, we confirmed it with our own unit, and AT&T followed up with a press release letting everyone know that LTE was now live in both Seattle and Portland areas. Readers are seeing speeds as high as 22Mbps down and 12Mbps up.
We've reached out to AT&T for information on just how large the LTE deployment is in these two metropolitan areas, as Verizon definitely has the entire greater region in each area covered in LTE.
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The image above is the result of a speed test using the HTC Thunderbolt on Verizon's 4G LTE network in Seattle. Techinically, Gear Live HQ is about a 20 minute drive north of Seattle, so even well outside the border of the metropolitan area, you still see speeds like this. Now, obviously Verizon isn't able to deliver this kind of speed everywhere that LTE is deployed, and as more devices are sold and the network gets more saturated, things will even out...but it shows the obvious potential that LTE has over other 4G technologies like WiMax. Now you can see why AT&T made the decision to buy T-Mobile. They have no way of competing with what Verizon is rolling out currently.