Cricket launching LTE network in Tucscon first

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Cricket is launching its very own LTE network, and it plans to start testing in Tucson, Arizona first. In fact, the company will begin testing during the second half of this year using the Huawei E397 dual-mode modem, which tells us that USB modems and perhaps mobile hotspots will arrive long before LTE-capable smartphones will. That’s usually the case for most carriers, anyway.

Why didn’t Cricket jump on the 4G bandwagon sooner? PC Mag reports:

Cricket has been slower to shift to LTE than Verizon, AT&T and MetroPCS because they’ve been waiting for device prices to come down. But it’s happening. The company said in March that it was targeting 2012 for its first commercial LTE products and it signed a roaming agreement with LightSquared, the controversial wholesale LTE operator whose initial rollout plan was proven to destroy the GPS system.

Naturally, cost of equipment is a barrier to entry, but as time progresses and hardware and wholesale broadband get cheaper, it only makes sense that more mobile network operators would move forward.

It seems that nearly everyone has an LTE network or is planning on one these days – Verizon, AT&T, MetroPCS and now even Cricket. There are even rumors still floating every now and then that Sprint might switch from its current 4G solution, WiMax, to LTE. The only one left in the dust is T-Mobile, though its current 3G network, labeled for marketing purposes as “4G,” are reaching impressive data transfer speeds and low latency times.

So, the lucky citizens of Tucson will be first to get a taste of Cricket’s LTE services, but I’d assume that other small cities will soon follow.

[Via: PC Mag]

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