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AT&T Says Pshaw to Verizon’s LTE Claims

AT&T says Verizon Wireless doesn’t really have a technological advantage in 4G as it claims, because people won’t be able to do much with the next generation of wireless networks for at least another two years.

AT&T’s CTO, John Donovan, goes as far to say that Verizon might be taking on Long-Term Evolution (LTE) technology before it’s mature. He made the comment in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

“2012 will be the time when you’ll have decent handsets, decent quantity of handsets, and decent choice of handsets,” Donovan told the Journal.

Verizon has said it will roll out LTE to 100 million people in two dozen markets by the end of this year. Call Donovan’s comments a pre-emptive strike. His company won’t be debuting LTE until sometime in 2011.

Donovan went on to tell the Journal that LTE will “be difficult to engineer” at the beginning. He expects the technology will drain device batteries quickly. Verizon is expected to sell LTE-compatible handsets next year, but will sell laptop data cards later this year.

In a response, a Verizon spokesman told the Journal that the negative comments from AT&T aren’t going to slow down his company’s rollout of LTE.

Much of the recent, much-publicized battle between the two telecom giants has centered around the iPhone and the problems AT&T’s wireless network has had handling all of that data traffic. With an iPhone for Verizon rumored to be coming in the next year, Donovan defended his network to the Journal, saying, “Anyone who says their network is ready for the iPhone – or the broader mobile data explosion that AT&T has experienced – is being naïve.”

Verizon is expected to make more LTE-related announcements at this week’s CTIA Wireless Show in Las Vegas.

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