With T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint all having 4G services, it was beginning to look like AT&T was being left behind in the mobile data race. At its developer summit in Las Vegas (going on around the same time as the CES 2011 show), the nation’s second-largest carrier showed that it’s not messing around when it comes to 4G.
The company plans to have 20 4G devices by the end of the year, including two 4G smartphones by the first quarter and up to 7 devices by the first half of the year. It will also have some tablets which can take advantage of that network, including one from Motorola. It looks like 4G will be HSPA+ for the first half of the year and it will then roll out LTE technology in the second half using some of the spectrum it acquired from FloTV.
These are looking to be some pretty cool devices too, as the Motorola Atrix 4G looks like a monster with a 2 GHz dual-core processor and the Samsung Infuse looks pretty swell with its 4.5-inch screen in a svelte body. The company will also soon be offering the HTC Inspirewith next-generation capabilities and the next version of sense.
AT&T is betting that its HSPA+ and LTE strategy will pay off, as it can still offer fast speeds to users no matter what stage of the LTE rollout it’s in. The second-largest carrier plans to have a fully built-out network by 2013.
“The key to delivering a true 4G experience is to have the combination of network, devices and applications, which together will give our customers the best and most advanced mobile broadband experience — today and tomorrow,” said Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO, in a prepared statement. “Recent tax law incentives, along with other policy developments, have allowed us to accelerate the capital investment — beginning in 2011 — to largely complete our LTE network build by the end of 2013. This will not only benefit our customers, but will, we hope, benefit the economy as a whole.”
We said that 2011 would be the year that 4G hit the mainstream and it looks like we were spot on with those predictions. We’re still waiting to hear about smartphone pricing and exact download and upload speeds, but we’re excited about all the possibilities.