AT&T has been keeping very quiet about its 4G plans over the past year, letting the other 3 major players freely roll out their respective 4G technologies - HSPA+ for T-Mobile, WiMax for Sprint, and LTE for Verizon. However, after the announcements at this morning's AT&T Developer Summit, it is clear AT&T is seriously stepping up its game.
According to Ralph de La Vega, AT&T's CEO, AT&T has already completed the upgrade of the whole mobile broadband network to HSPA+, or Evolved HSPA, which is the same technology used by T-Mobile that currently offers theoretical speeds of about 21Mbps downstream. Unfortunately, just like with HSPA+ on T-Mobile, existing HSPA-compatible devices will not be able to utilize HSPA+, but AT&T is set to remedy that with a whole lineup of HSPA+ ready flagship Android devices - Motorola ATRIX 4G, Samsung Infuse 4G, HTC Inspire 4G, a Motorola tablet, and others. Overall, AT&T is set to release 12 Android phones in 2011, between 5 and 7 of them being HSPA+.
Now here's the kicker - AT&T is continuing to upgrade its network and will also roll out LTE starting in the 2nd half of 2011 and continuing into 2013. Phones, tablets, and LTE modems are coming starting the 2nd half of 2011 as well. Considering that other carriers are concentrating on just 1 4G technology, it is pretty impressive that AT&T is gunning for 2. My only concern is that dual, incompatible 4G technologies with different area coverage be confusing to consumers, but it's a small price to pay for having 2 great options rather than 1.
Credit: Engadget, which seems to have 85 billion employees covering every square foot of CES