AT&T announced that it will be releasing its new 4G network in selected market areas, with 10 more market areas to follow soon after. The first lucky users of the new 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) service will be Dallas, Houston, Chigaco, Atlanta, and San Antonio, with an eventual 70 million Americans having access by the end of the year.
To put a spin on the announcement, AT&T already has a branded 4G network, the HSPA+. HSPA+ is a 3G standard, but according to a telecom consultant with PRTM, Dan Hays, "Depending upon a user's location and configuration of cell sites nearby, HSPA+ could exceed -- or even radically exceed -- speeds achieved with LTE."
So, why the new network 4G branding, if the old standard is better? AT&T sees no confusion over the new 4G branding at all, and believes this will bring them ahead of their rivals. "When our customers go back to HSPA+ in places where LTE isn't available, they will still have very fast speeds. When customers on one of our competitors' networks go from 4G to 3G, there's a dramatic drop-off,” reported Mark Siegel, spokesman for AT&T.