United States mobile operator AT&T Mobility has announced that it will launch commercial Long Term Evolution (LTE) services in its first five markets this summer, confirming long-standing industry rumours. The markets in question are Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, with ‘ten or more’ additional markets slated for LTE connectivity by end-2011. The announcement disproves earlier speculation that AT&T was poised to introduce LTE in New York City on 30 June 2011, with Los Angeles lit up on 24 July; it is unclear if those two cities have been earmarked for future connectivity.
AT&T’s chief technology officer John Donovan commented: ‘The next network evolution will arrive this summer with the addition of LTE in five markets – Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Atlanta and San Antonio. We plan to add another ten or more markets in the second half of the year, and cover 70 million Americans with LTE by year-end. We also have plans to add 20 4G devices to our robust device portfolio this year, with some of those being LTE-capable. We’re positioning to deliver a great mobile broadband experience in the near term with HSPA+ and a growing LTE footprint. We’ve invested USD75 billion in our wireless and wired networks over the last four years – more capital invested in the US than any company in any industry. And we plan to invest USD19 billion in our wireless and wireline networks and other capital projects this year. The investments we’ve made to evolve our mobile broadband network in recent years, plus what we have planned for the future, put our customers in position to benefit fully from a host of coming mobile broadband innovations’.
In other news, speaking at the Barclays Capital Global Communications, Media and Technology Conference, John Stankey, president of AT&T’s business solutions unit, elaborated on how AT&T expects to integrate T-Mobile USA into its network if the company’s proposed USD39 billion takeover is approved. According to Fierce Wireless, Stankey indicated that AT&T will focus on consolidating the companies’ 2G networks whilst aggressively migrating 2G customers to more advanced devices. AT&T will aim to free up T-Mobile’s 1700MHz AWS spectrum for LTE use, migrating T-Mobile customers to AT&T’s 1900MHz spectrum in the process. Stankey estimates the transition will take between one and two years, depending on the geographic distribution of the 1900MHz spectrum.