AT&T Launches LTE Network

AT&T will have its 4G LTE network up and running before the summer is out at least in some areas.

John Stephens, the companys chief financial officer, announced at a conference today that AT&T will launch LTE in five markets on Sunday, Sept. 18. The carrier previously said that Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Chicago and Atlanta would be first to experience the faster speeds provided by LTE. It was first thought we might see AT&Ts LTE debut in July, but the company will still make it before the leaves start changing.

AT&T plans to make the new technology available in an additional 10 markets before the year is out. And although the carrier has no LTE smartphones available just yet its promised at least one before the holiday season ends it is selling a 4G modem and mobile hotspot compatible with the new network. You can also get the HTC Jetstream tablet PC that works with AT&T LTE.

The carrier says you can expect to see speeds comparable to those on the Verizon Wireless LTE network, which promises downloads at 5-12Mbps and uploads of 2-5Mbps. AT&T has been playing catch-up since VzW launched LTE last year, but has been plagued by statistics showing its network quality and customer-service rankings to be quite low. The new network might do something to change peoples perceptions of the former.

AT&T is in the middle of what could be a long regulatory battle in its efforts to buy T-Mobile USA for $39 billion, which would make the combined carrier Americas largest.

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