If you're a citizen of San Francisco and own an LTE capable phone on AT&T's network, you're in luck. It appears that the carrier's new 4G LTE network is now live in SF. While it hasn't been officially announced, it seems to be going strong. If you're in the area, fire up your device and prepare to have your hair blown back.
Interestingly enough, New York City started seeing some high-speed love at the end of last week, but it has only been live in certain parts of the city.
Looks like Verizon is going with the go big or go home motto pretty heavily these days - it has been attacking plans to expand its LTE network across the country with great earnest, and now it has entered into an agreement with multiple cable companies to purchase 122 Advanced Wireless Service Spectrum licenses for a cool 3.6 Billion smack-a-roos.
The deal, which will have to be cleared by the FCC, will allow VZW to grow its LTE network even further, giving it an even bigger advantage over AT&T.
A few days ago, we received a mystery package from the good folks at RadioShack. Inside the package were three phones - the Samsung Stratosphere on Verizon, HTC EVO Design 4G on Sprint, and Samsung Infuse 4G on AT&T. Since these phones are ours to do with what we please, we've decided to do what we always do when we end up with extra goodies: give them away.
Since we have three phones to hand out, we're going to make each contest quick and dirty.
If you've been waiting for AT&T to start announcing some smartphones for its LTE network, that time is over. Ma Bell just took the wraps off of its first two LTE-powered smartphones, and they're nothing short of impressive.
Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket
The GSII Skyrocket is an incremental upgrade to AT&T's current GSII, with quite a few beefed up specs:
Sprint has network problems. Major problems. And they've gotten a lot worse lately. Really, really bad. Not all areas are affected - and in fact some have improved already, but more and more areas are getting so bad that Sprint's 3G data is completely unusable there, especially since the introduction of the iPhone. Troubleshooting and update my phone's "profile" and PRL didn't help, as evident from the screenshot #2 you see below.
There's been a lot of buzz over Sprint's LTE plans lately, but the company's vice president of network development and engineering, Iyad Tarazi has just added more fuel to the fire, indicating that Sprint plans to deploy LTE-Advanced in a 10x10 configuration by the first half of 2013, using its 800MHz spectrum, offering download speeds of around 12-15 MB/s.
Meanwhile, Sprint's deployment of LTE on their 1900MHz spectrum is still on track for commercial launch by mid-2012.
It seems there's been some renewed interest in the subject of Block C LTE "no locking" provisions after news that the Motorola RAZR will come equipped with a locked bootloader per Verizon's request. About four months ago, I published an article on this very topic. To summarize: Verizon can basically do almost anything it wants with handsets on its network in the name of reasonable network management - subject to a few limitations and caveats.
Update: Unfortunately, Verizon pulled the ads. When we asked them why, their official response was: "The ads were pulled because some of the professional service agreements have expired."
It's no secret that Verizon's LTE network is the fastest and largest mobile data network in the U.S. (can't say it's the most reliable though), but to make sure every Tom, Dick, and Harry knows about this, the company has rolled out a batch of LTE commercials featuring slogans such as "Instant Results," "Just Like That," "What You Want.