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AT&T Networking Wireless Networking

AT&T To Launch LTE Network In 5 Cities This Summer 84

Posted by samzenpus
from the look-at-all-that-coverage dept.
tekgoblin writes "AT&T is looking to get a piece of the 4G LTE pie that Verizon has a firm grasp on. They have announced today that they are going to roll out 4G in Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Atlanta and San Antonio this summer and another 10 markets yet to be determined later in the year."
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AT&T To Launch LTE Network In 5 Cities This Summer

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  • by TheWanderingHermit (513872) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @11:54PM (#36247534)

    Do they think people are really that unaware of the problems with their network that they'll believe that AT&T LTE will work any better than AT&T as it is?

    • Well.... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by jra (5600)

      They think that people are unaware of the fact that LTE *is not 4G*, according to the international organzation who hold that namespace (ITU) ... and they're *right*. So...

      • by CTU (1844100)

        That is correct and it is not 4G officially. Although, I believe LTE is the correct standard that can reach the specifications to be call 4G (If I remember correctly). So as long as LTE is developed further it will get that title officially.

      • Re:Well.... (Score:5, Informative)

        by cgenman (325138) on Thursday May 26, 2011 @12:22AM (#36247642) Homepage

        ITU relented. LTE is now officially 4G [pcmag.com], according to them.

        Lame, but what can you do? Their 4G definition would be nice, but it is impractical to have the next network naming standard be for a technology that is years off, and with at least one level of interim network speed technology between them.

        • The ITU got it half right. What is 4G if not the fourth generation of cellular networks? To me, LTE and WiMax, both coming after 3G networks and being both faster and newer technology are a fourth generation. Anything HSPA-derived is not, it's just evolved 3G technology, so call it 3.5G or 3.9G, whatever. Unfortunately, when changing the terms to allow the current incarnations of LTE and WiMax to count as 4G the ITU basically gave in to T-Mobile's marketing team and allowed HSPA networks to be called 4G

    • People will believe anything if it's marketed well enough... or they have no other option.

      LTE is looking promising as there's been trials here in Australia at over 100km ~80mbps connection. I'm just concerned that mobile providers are on the one hand loading their customer endpoints with gear that has lightening quick speeds, but refuse to upgrade their network to support it. Then they have the balls to cry foul when consumers say their service is shit.

      We have the same problem here in Australia with Vodapho

    • What problem do you have, exactly, with AT&T? I have boatloads of problems with how they run their business, but the tech is solid (in my not-so-humble experience).

      I just tested my 3G speed - 5Mbps/600Kbps and 100ms latency. This is pretty consistent across all areas I have HSDPA service (most of the places I go to). As for consistency, I only ever drop calls in tunnels or the thick-walled (bomb-shelter) basements of some buildings.

      I keep hearing about the terrible quality of AT&T's tech - what, exa

      • by Vegeta99 (219501)

        I get that too in Phoenix, living 16 blocks from downtown right now. But then, all day long downtown, I get maybe 250kbps down, 128 up?

        • by Krojack (575051)

          My speed test average results. Ran 6 times on each device.

          iPad
            - AT&T (3/5 bars) = Ping: 340ms UP: 46kbps DOWN: 574kbps

          HTC Thunderbolt
            - Verizon (3/4 bars) = Ping: 171ms UP: 75kbps DOWN: 436kbps

      • I agree, I think ATT provides great service.

        I've been with them for 4 years now and I only have good things to say about them. Examples?

        1. Their plans are cheap.

        My iPhone 4 runs me $50 a month with unlimited 3G, texting and plenty of minutes with rollover.

        2. Their customer service.

        I upgrade my iPhone after every 12 months and they have always allowed me to do so with the full discount of $199 for the latest model. When I do the upgrade, the system automatically applies a $18 upgrade fee to my bill. I sim

      • The problem is that, for me, they label their service as HSPA+, when it's really just HSDPA, and nowhere near a reasonable speed to be called such. You get 5Mbps/600Kbps, yet I get 970Kbps/160Kbps and 270ms latency. It technically might use the HSDPA protocol, but those aren't exactly acceptable speeds.

        And don't forget their deceitful advertising. Just check their network map [att.com].

        AT&T has deployed HSPA+ to virtually 100% of our nation's fastest mobile broadband network, which enables 4G speeds when combined with enhanced backhaul.

        This is either an outright lie, or intentionally deceitful considering they mention that the "Map depicts current and future 3G co

        • It's brilliant deception through marketing.

          AT&T has deployed HSPA+ to virtually 100% of our nation's fastest mobile broadband network, which enables 4G speeds when combined with enhanced backhaul.

          Translation:

          AT&T has enabled your phone or wireless modem to connect to the tower at HSPA speeds. Good luck using that speed when most of the towers still use a small number of T1s to get to the internet.

          It's like having a 512/128kbit entry-level DSL internet connection and upgrading your WiFi access point from an old 802.11b unit to a new MIMO 802.11n device. Sure, the air link is faster, but the internet connection is still the bottleneck. Those lucky enough to have towers with upgraded backhaul connections may be able to get interesting speeds, but most won't.

          • If they claim to be using HSPA+ protocol for mobile-to-tower communication, why does my phone say it's only HSDPA? And why do they list an 'H+' symbol on the status bar?
    • Considering LTE is a direct upgrade for ATT (since it's the next generation of GSM) and verizon uses CDMA, I would say ATT will have far less problems. Verizon basically uses a bridging technology called eHRPD to hand off connections between LTE (GSMv4) and EVDO (CDMA). Their network problems with LTE were from a failure in eHRPD. Since ATT wont need this, they wont have that problem. LTE handoffs are a bit laggy on Verizon as well from my experience with having the HTC Thunderbolt since March. Generally w

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Do they think people are really that unaware of the problems with their network that they'll believe that AT&T LTE will work any better than AT&T as it is?

      Do you really think that moving to 4G has anything to do with offering better speeds? hahahahahahaha

      No, the move to 4G is so they can tell you "Sorry, in order to use a 4G phone you'll need to have a minimum data plan of Rape My Ass."
      This allows them to force people off of grandfathered plans (for example, my Unlimited data from their recent purchase of Alltel). It also forces them off of plans that charge data for the whole account, and onto plans which charges it per-device.

      They don't actually plan on mak

    • by guttentag (313541)

      Do they think people are really that unaware of the problems with their network that they'll believe that AT&T LTE will work any better than AT&T as it is?

      No, and this is why the Northeast Corridor, Los Angeles, and the Bay Area are not among the places they are launching LTE. I have both Verizon LTE and AT&T 3G and using them in those areas is like watching a race between a semi-pro cyclist and paraplegic retiree. After the retiree falls off his bike for the third time you think, "Is this considered a form of schadenfreude because I paid to watch?" Putting the retiree on a new, super-light carbon fiber racing bike isn't going to be good advertising for t

  • Gee, an open competitive market and still AT&T is dragging their feet on bringing out competitive and innovative technologies, playing catch up with newer companies. So much for the theory that competition sparks innovation.

    • It's a government mandated oligopoly, so innovation is going to be stifled. They aren't worried about some new upstart coming in and stealing their business.
    • by imamac (1083405)
      Your definition of open and competitive must be different than mine,
  • by MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) <myfirstnameispaul@gmail.com> on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @11:58PM (#36247566) Homepage Journal
    I'd be happy with 3G speeds. 1 mbps is all I ask.
    • Who would ever need more than 1mbps, right?
      • by hedwards (940851)

        Obviously not people who use AT&T. If they couldn't get 3G right, I'm genuinely curious as to what makes folks expect that they'll get this right.

    • by StikyPad (445176)

      Indeed. The problem with AT&T's networks isn't that they're 3G, it's that their backhaul is underdeveloped and overloaded. Upgrading the last mile won't do a thing help. Moreover, most of their geographic coverage is *still* limited to EDGE. They should upgrade that to 3G before bothering with LTE.

  • I am in the process of reducing my exposure to AT&T.

    .
    In my experience, as a customer, AT&T's customer service is nothing short of horrific, only slightly better than Comcast's customer service..

    AT&T's corporate strategies look to me to me to be not in the favor of AT&T customers.

  • Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BoogeyOfTheMan (1256002) on Thursday May 26, 2011 @12:02AM (#36247582)

    Five whole cities?

    Seriously though, why didnt they do this when VZW started doing it, instead of spending so much on advertising about how awesome their network was (when it wasnt). If they would have taken the advertising dollars and actually spent it on the network to make it do what they claimed it could, maybe people wouldnt constantly rate them the lowest in customer satisfaction.

    • Re:Wow (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Shag (3737) on Thursday May 26, 2011 @04:54AM (#36248552) Homepage

      Seriously though, why didnt they do this when VZW started doing it, instead of spending so much on advertising about how awesome their network was (when it wasnt).

      Eh, AT&T's LTE roadmap (rollout starts in 2011, but most of it happens in 2012) is super-hyper-extra-old news, it's been set for years. As for why they didn't try to compete more with Verizon... I figure they plan to have an LTE network ready about the same time there's an LTE iPhone to use it. And as someone who grew up with Hell Atlantic, I can attest that there are plenty of people out there whose loathing for AT&T is matched, if not exceeded, by their loathing for Verizon.

      The flip side of the question is why Verizon jumped on LTE so early that there weren't even handsets available. Trying to get away from the dead-end of CDMA? :)

      • by Solandri (704621)

        Trying to get away from the dead-end of CDMA?

        Sigh, not this again. CDMA [wikipedia.org] won. The TDMA [wikipedia.org] used by GSM's voice lost. It doesn't scale well with multiple simultaneous users. To put it in computer terms, TDMA is like multitasking by giving each process on your computer an equal slice of CPU time, regardless of how much CPU the process actually needs. CDMA is like multitasking by giving each process only as much CPU time as it needs. The only reason GSM still uses TDMA is to maintain backwards compatibility,

        • by swb (14022)

          It may be a fringe benefit, but it is extremely valuable to work with calendars, email, etc while talking on the phone.

          I hope this works in LTE.

        • Except that CDMA is only used by a handful of carriers worldwide, while everyone else uses GSM. While I know that that doesnt make GSM better, it means that if you cant use your CDMA phone when you travel abroad unless you go to the few countries that use it. (Which for a lot of people is a non-issue, but for the people it affects, its kind of a big issue)

      • They may not have had handsets available, but they had the mobile access points and usb dongles.

        Kind of off topic but I dont understand the need for speeds that fast on a phone, unless you are tethering. But a couple of mbps is enough to stream video to your phone. Hell, the 22mbps offered by LTE is faster than most peoples home wired connection. (Not saying they shouldnt offer it, I just dont see why so many people are so excited about it)

  • 4G shoudl get you 1Gbps when stationary and 100Mbps when on the move (in car or bus). Here, in developing Estonia, we get 21Mbps everywhere and in some areas (towns) 42 Mbps from 3.5G networks. It seems unfair, that you pay more to get less.

    • Re:Marketing (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Fallen Kell (165468) on Thursday May 26, 2011 @12:27AM (#36247658)
      The problem is that in Estonia, you only need a network that can handle 2 million people (which gives room for 30-35% population increase/tourists over total population in the country). Just covering Chicago alone has more than double the population of your entire country....
      • by hedwards (940851)

        Yes, but that doesn't really explain how it is that AT&T manages to fuck up service so bad in places like Seattle. I'll believe that they've got 4G when I see it, for now, they still haven't managed to get 3G coverage over the entire city. And the phones tend not to degrade very gracefully. Ultimately, I ended up turning the 3G off in many places because it wasn't worth the battery drain when the signal was so spotty.

        • by gravis777 (123605)

          There is part of me that is wishing I hadn't left AT&T. I complained about it left and right when I had it - spotty service, slow speeds, etc. I switched to another company that supposedly offers 3G and 90% coverage of the US. Turns out what they call 3G is actually SLOWER than AT&T's Edge network was (several speedtests were done, on both carriers), I get really low signal most of the time (and this is where the company's headquareters are located), and probably a quarter of the time when I try to

      • by eth1 (94901)

        Wait... doesn't cramming the population together make it easier and more cost effective to provide service?

        Every time someone gripes about the good networks in Japan, etc. compared to here in the US, someone says, "but people are too spread out in the US."

        Now it's the other way around?

        The real reason is that upgrading costs money, and they have no reason to do it when they can continue to sell the same crap for more money instead. In developing areas, current generation tech is being installed. Here we're

        • by iinlane (948356)

          In developing areas, current generation tech is being installed. Here we're stuck with existing old stuff until it's so crotchety it HAS to be upgraded.

          Nope, we had 3G before 3.5G and EDGE and GPRS before that.

  • I place a very high value on the ability to access the Internet via the service provider of my choice but that does not mean I am willing to let the Robber Barons, aka Spectrum Barons, fleece me with promises of data rates they can only deliver on their best day to an extremely sparse user base located smack dab in the middle of the highest of population densities. This carrot is simply not enticing enough to bear the associated stick.
  • A significant portion of this new "4G next gen network" is gonna be HSPA+ which is a total joke to pretend is even worth bragging about. There are tons of networks using it since early 2008. Even so it hardly matters considering AT&T's insane caps.
    • by JimboFBX (1097277)

      Strangely enough, my cable internet was dropping connections, so on my Atrix I disabled my wireless and watched Conan in HD using a 3 bar HSPA+, and it actually started fast and ran smooth (no buffering).

      Of course, I wonder how much content I can even watch with the 2 GB plan. Would be useful if I could see the bitrate of what I'm watching...

      Real problem is that AT&T's 3G signal doesn't travel through walls very well.

      Switching from an iPhone to an Atrix 4g though, I'm seeing that the iPhone definitely m

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Considering that I ported out my landline and cancelled DSL which were both AT&T, I could just say a "Whoop de do!"

  • by MrEricSir (398214)

    AT&T is one of the worst companies: brain-dead tech support, high prices, a website that barely works, and bills that run for pages with hidden charges.

    "Rethink Possibilities." Yeah, rethink all the possible ways those bastards can screw you. Because just when you've had enough, they find a new way.

    (Yes, I dealt with AT&T for too long and I'm in the middle of switching to other companies.)

  • by srealm (157581) <prez AT goth DOT net> on Thursday May 26, 2011 @01:36AM (#36247860) Homepage

    New York City was one of their biggest Achilles heel after they released the iPhone. A city with millions of people and a network nowhere NEAR able to cope with it. Pretty much everyone I know in NY who had an iPhone basically said it was unusable if you were not at a WiFi hot spot.

    It is conspicuous that they have chosen not to roll out to such a large market in the first wave (which Verizon did). I guess they really don't want to get another black eye like they did with the iPhone roll out.

    • by Hadlock (143607)

      AT&T is Southwestern Bell. Southwestern Bell is headquartered in Dallas. Dallas, San Antonio and Houston are in Texas. NYC is so far away from Dallas it might as well be in another country. Dallas, Houston and Chicago are huge, international cities. Not everything has to premier in NYC these days, and the rapid population growth of the west (and midwest) are making this more clear.

      So yes, NYC will eventually get it, but a large chunk of the telcom industry is in Dallas (google "phone prairie") a

      • by icebrain (944107)

        You don't see Boeing announcing the manufacture of the new 787 in Maine or Georgia

        .

        No, you don't, because they already announced that they will be running a second production line in South Carolina [nwsource.com].

      • NYC is so far away from Dallas it might as well be in another country.

        Translation: NYC isn't in Texas, therefore it's in another country.

        Dallas, Houston and Chicago are huge, international cities.

        Unlike, of course, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, or San Francisco. What's going to be the second wave of the rollout --- Des Moines, St. Louis, Cincinnati and Cleveland?

        • by gravis777 (123605)

          Hmmm, or could it be number of towers needed to reach a certain number of people? Urban areas such as NYC would need more towers and bandwidth to reach a said number of people, plus repeaters installed inside of buildings and skyscrapers to provide any fair amount of coverage.

          Cities such as San Antonio, Dallas and Houston (in addition to two of the three being headquarters to AT&T - AT&T is either in the process or just finished moving headquarters from San Antonio to Dallas) have much lighter popul

          • by Big Jason (1556)

            DFW, San Antonio, and Houston all have VERY good infastructures with AT&T (compared to other cities), so its the idea test bed.

            I live in Downtown Dallas, less than 3 blocks away from AT&T Headquarters. I used to have AT&T and the service was atrocious, dropped calls were a regular occurrence. I now have an iPhone with Verizon and the service is stellar, no dropped calls even in the CBD tunnels. So if the infrastructure is great here, I shudder to think how bad it is elsewhere...

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      It's because they are not willing to install more towers to make 3G work, they have no interest in trying to put in spotty 4G that will also not work there. They have to spend a LOT of money to fix it, they simply would rather spend that cash on executive bonuses instead.

  • ...after which VerizATT will rewrite their contracts to forbid the end user from disseminating negative comments regarding their service reliability and then finance the purchases of the judges required to enforce said contract by charging you by the bit transmitted or received in their only available service plan...a service plan that makes accepting unsolicited advertising mandatory.

    Although come to think of it, one or two more telecom mergers and monopolization will mean that it won't matter if the remaining corporation(s) have a bad rap for service. It will be like it, or leave it...at least until an equally well-paid Congress passes a law requiring you to purchase their service in order to give law enforcement the ability to track you via GPS. For the sake of America's security, donchaknow.

    lollll...I'm kidding...

    Probably.
  • by cshark (673578)

    So this means that the relative honesty and straight forward billing practices of At&t will be available in the 4g space.
    Clear users will be thrilled to know this. I've been using Clear for three months. Shoot me, please.

  • I wonder how many people that bitch about the tea party campaign supporters will actually switch away from AT&T in protest.

    http://thinkprogress.org/2011/03/09/koch-wikipedia-sock-puppet/ [thinkprogress.org]

  • Anything that will knock me off of the grandfathered "unlimited plan" I have no interest in. Plus if it's anything like how they run their 3G, in dense places like NYC, it will be as slow as a 56K modem.

  • If AT&T hadn't locked up $39,000,000,000 they could have rolled out LTE in more than a mere 5 cities.
    • by Nexus7 (2919)

      Moreover, maybe ATT thinks the T-Mobile acquisition may not get approved (has this happened already?). Because T-Mo just announced a boost in speeds in many of the same markets (http://gadgetbox.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/05/24/6707146-t-mobile-doubles-4g-network-speeds) in ATT's LTE announcement. T-Mo's tech is not LTE, it's HSPA.

  • I'm happy to see that AT&T expands their 4G nework because many T-Mobile customers would love to switch since the buy-out and want to bring their device. I don't know exactly which of the T-Mobile 4G phones will work on AT&T's 4G network but as far as the Dell Streak 7 tablet concerns, after unlocking the tablet, it DOES have 4G capability on AT&T even though that is not supposed to work according to the specs! There is an article on StreakSmart about it that spread through the net like fire. It

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