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AT&T Promises To Expand LTE To More US Markets 105

WIn5t0n writes "Even though AT&T has now promoted itself to the 'Largest 4G Network' (HSPA+), it is still lagging far behind in advancing its LTE Coverage. AT&T's largest competitor, Verizon, has turned up the heat on the company now that it claims to cover 75 percent of US population with LTE, while AT&T's network only fully covers a few cities. However, AT&T has recognized consumer unrest and has planned to expand its 4G LTE coverage into '48 new markets' by the end of the year. With the iPhone 5 (rumored to have LTE capabilities) likely to be in consumers hands by the end of this month, AT&T is now feeling the pressure to make sure its customers can take full advantage of their new phones on a faster network. The company's full rollout of 4G LTE coverage is not scheduled to be complete until at least 2013."
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AT&T Promises To Expand LTE To More US Markets

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  • by macromorgan ( 2020426 ) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @12:14PM (#41249297)
    I want to use AT&T's LTE network, I just don't want to deal with AT&T (or pay their ridiculous markup).
    • Don't expect much. MVNOs typically only have rights to sell ancient tech... eg. 2G phones when 3G was new, and now 3G phones while LTE is rolling out.

      That's why it was such a huge deal that Sprint recently allowed MVNOs to use their LTE network... Imagine cheap, pre-paid 4G LTE ala Boost / Virgin Mobile. It could have a huge impact in driving down consumer costs, and driving more customers to Sprint, potentially growing them to the point that they aren't disadvantaged when competing with AT&T and Ve

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 06, 2012 @12:18PM (#41249343)

    Nothing matters from AT&T until they remove all data caps and follow Sprint and T-Mobile's lead.

    • by Desler ( 1608317 )

      Has T-Mobile gotten rid of the 5GB cap where after you get throttled?

    • by alen ( 225700 )

      too bad sprint has the slowest LTE and their 3G is slightly faster than dial up

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I just switched to T-Mobile yesterday on their new unlimited (and non-throttled) plan. T-mob is SUPER fast around here. Time for AT&T (and Verizon) to catch up with T-Mobile and Sprint.

        • I can't speak for AT&T's non-LTE markets, but they rock in South Florida... especially compared to Sprint. Sprint has sucked beyond belief here for months, and we're still at least a few months away from the point where Sprint's LTE coverage will be at least as good as their current Wimax coverage. IActually, think we're still at least another month or two away from the first LTE towers even getting officially lit up.

          Half the reason I left Sprint was because I hated my old phone (a crippled, bootloader

    • I have an LTE phone with AT&T. I hit the 5 gb cap and was throttled for a week until the next billing cycle. Speeds went from around 13000 kbps to 500 kbps. Now they're back up to normal speeds.

      I did some tethering without paying for it, but it was only three light sessions on my ipad. I've been using google plus a lot, that could be it. LTE is a lot faster than my home wifi, so I left wifi off

      AT&T says the caps will only affect the top 5% of data users. If I'm in the top 5%, nearly eve
  • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @12:23PM (#41249399) Homepage Journal

    Any chance they'll raise the data caps high enough to make LTE actually useful?

    A water pipe that can fill a football stadium in 1 minute flat does no good if it will only dispense half a glass of water a month.

    • Any chance they'll raise the data caps high enough to make LTE actually useful?

      A water pipe that can fill a football stadium in 1 minute flat does no good if it will only dispense half a glass of water a month.

      Currently AT&T has no plans to increase data caps for those using their 4G network. 3rd Gen iPad users have been running into this problem al lot.

      • AT&T will absolutely have to increase their bundled limits to remain competitive... but they'll do it "the AT&T Way" --

        Today: "3 gigs for $30, or 5 gigs for $50 with free tethering, and $10 per additional gig"

        Tomorrow: "10 gigs for $55 with free tethering, $25 per additional 5 gigabytes thereafter.

    • by gv250 ( 897841 )

      A water pipe that can fill a football stadium in 1 minute flat does no good if it will only dispense half a glass of water a month.

      Could you phrase that in the form of an automobile analogy?

      • by sjames ( 1099 )

        How about a top fuel dragster that can top out at 500MPH but only has enough fuel for 20 feet? So during the big race it is easily beaten by the ancient man driving a tuk-tuk.

        • Except that there is no unlimited slow option on AT&T. There's still a limit to how much you can download, even if you're using edge (which I guess would be the tuk-tuk option)
          • by sjames ( 1099 )

            Without the illusion of massive capability from the dragster, you will tend to use less data and get better 'mileage' like the tuk-tuk.

    • It is higher with LTE phones. 3GB for other phones, 5gb for LTE phones, including the grandfathered unlimited plan (for now at least.)
    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      This is why I don't really care about 4G. The move from Edge to 3G was necessary because it converted a phone from a glorified mobile email device to a true internet device. Right now on my 3G iPhone, without even full bars, I have at least 1 Mbps connectivity, sometime approaching 3 mps. The ping time always sucks, sometime approaching half a second, but data transfer. Just like when I am a WIFi connection the problem seems to be bloated pages and Google Analytics. I might see a page spend several sec
      • > have no idea if 4G is going to make the ping time any shorter.

        It will be much shorter. Theoretically HSPA is ~100ms (plain UMTS is even longer), LTE should be about ~5ms

        Also, IPv6 and Mobile IPv6 (much better story than Mobile IPv4).

        And yes, the ads and analytics are terrible. I have adblock on my phone, I wonder if there is a usable noscript?

  • How long till they have a network fast enough to pass a voice call to my cell at my house in one of their "excellent" reception areas?
  • I've been told by AT&T reps for months that LTE is coming to the Salt Lake City area Real Soon Now. I didn't know what I was missing till a recent trip to a few LTE cities. I would love to have LTE, but I am not holding my breath. It was scheduled for Spring, then Some Time over the Summer, and now Maybe By the End Of the Year.

    • Comcast told me for about 7 years that broadband was coming to my area (one of the three biggest cities in Connecticut). It finally came, the year I left the state.

    • They brought LTE to Davis, CA, but not the much larger Sacramento, a mere 15 minutes away. I can only conclude that someone at AT&T is throwing darts at a map to decide where they'll upgrade that week.
  • No doubt, AT&T also promises a 10% increase in your bill to pay for these expansions.
    • by Desler ( 1608317 )

      No, you pay no extra for 4G. Their data plans don't discriminate between whether your data usage is 3G or 4G. You jst buy a block of data amount. AT&T has plenty of things it can be ragged on for so there is no need to make shit up.

      • AT&T has fought tooth and nail to prevent expanding/improving their services in any shape, form, or fashion because it doesn't profit them.
        Hence why I'm joking around about it.
  • i have an iphone 4S on AT&T. i was at the store playing with a Samsung Galaxy Note yesterday. it benches at almost 12Mbps but in normal use it doesn't seem that much faster than my iphone

    could it be that most phones today are still hardware limited and higher bandwidth speeds are just marketing hype?

    • Yes. It has much lower latency, which is better for real time applications.

    • On of the major benefits is spectral efficiency: LTE can deliver reasonable good service to more people on the same frequency allocation. This is why Verizon is so keen on getting as many data-heavy users off their overloaded EVDO network and onto LTE. Now, the extent to which a technology can provide consistent service to more people in a given geographical area within a given chunk of spectrum is a tricky thing to benchmark. Ultimately, however, user experience is going to be determined much more by such

    • Does anybody believe any of the so-called "benchmarking" speed test web sites?

      I almost believe there's a full time team at every major provider of consumer internet access whose job it is to packet shape and/or outright fake every benchmark web site. Even if the motivation isn't to fool people outright (ie, not provide the service level they're charging people) but to just keep every ignoramus out there from hammering customer service about how their speed tests aren't living up to their expectations.

      The o

  • by CowTipperGore ( 1081903 ) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @12:55PM (#41249895)

    I was in the DC metro area recently and took a screenshot of a speedtest because I couldn't believe it. A Samsung SIII on AT&T registered 45M down. Unfortunately, we can't touch that at home because there is no AT&T LTE coverage anywhere in our state.

    • by laffer1 ( 701823 )

      That makes sense.. make regulators think you're providing real bandwidth. They forgot some of those folks don't always stay in DC :)

  • Hopefully they remember to upgrade my area to 3G first... Paying the same price for everyone else for edge speeds is getting old.
  • by Ungrounded Lightning ( 62228 ) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @01:12PM (#41250181) Journal

    "75% of the population"? How about a percentage of the LAND AREA. Like 99+%?

    The whole POINT of wireless is that you can use it when you're ON THE ROAD, somewhere OUT OF A CITY, or otherwise anywhere but parked at home or the office. The carriers seem to have lost track of that.

    Perhaps it's a side-effect of the FCC's abandonment of access requirements to the legacy, subsidized, landline infrastructure, leaving landlines to a duality of incumbent Tellcos and Cable companies, which only have to incrementally upgrade while their no-longer-existent competition must wire the world from scratch? That ends up with wireless data carriage repurposed as a cheaper-to-install alternative to landlines, driving mobile service into secondary status in corporate mindshare. Of course, in such a market the incumbents (like AT&T), with their existing landline structure, have less incentive to roll out service than their wireless-only and wireless-mainly competition.

    • by Desler ( 1608317 ) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @01:16PM (#41250271)

      Because it's stupid to have cell coverage in vast swathes of uninhabited areas? Most people don't want to pay more just so the peaks of the Rocky Mountains and the entire Death valley desert can have LTE coverage.

      • by Fishbulb ( 32296 )

        The peaks of the Rockies have decent coverage, actually. As long as you can see a road, you'll probably get some signal. Much better line-of-sight from the top.

        The valleys, on the other hand...

      • Because it's stupid to have cell coverage in vast swathes of uninhabited areas?

        What does habitation have to do with anything? Some uninhabited areas have lots of travelers. Airports probably have a population of zero, yet those travellers I'll bet use a lot of the provided cell coverage. Same goes for the endless stretches of Interstate in places like Wyoming and Montana. Population zero but lots of people using the road.

        • by Shatrat ( 855151 )

          Next time you're driving out there in the middle of nowhere and you feel like you deserve 4G, look right, then look left. Did you see any fiber optic cable on poles? There's your answer. Rural towers are usually sitting on the end of a microwave link back to a 'hub' tower that's T1 or fiber-fed. Those microwave links and T1s aren't going to support LTE service.

    • Actually, I would be more satisfied with AT&T if I could get a signal IN a city. Specifically, inside a building.
    • I recently drove across the country with an LTE phone. Most places didn't have LTE reception, but I was surprised at the HSPA+ or at least 3G coverage. That's enough for google maps.

      How often do you find yourself driving through the wasteland of Nevada, absolutely needing the youtube video to stream smoothly? I'd wager not enough to justify paying more on your monthly bill.
    • by jfruh ( 300774 )

      The whole POINT of wireless is that you can use it when you're ON THE ROAD, somewhere OUT OF A CITY, or otherwise anywhere but parked at home or the office. The carriers seem to have lost track of that.

      Er, you realize that the vast majority of people, even when they're on the road and out of their home/office, are going other places where people live, right? Usually in their own city? For most people, I'd wager that the huge majority of their cell phone calls are made within a half-hour drive from their h

  • Knowing AT&T, the NSA will be underwriting their expenses.
  • AT&T put the 3 gig limit on my unlimited plan AFTER I renewed a contract.

    Bye bye AT&T.

  • If I was in charge at AT&T, I would spend whatever money it took to improve the 2G/3G coverage of AT&T to the point where its better than Verizon. Lots of people have made "I hate Verizon but dont get coverage from anyone else so I have no choice" complaints, if AT&T fixed that, more people would switch over from Verizon and could move towards making AT&T the #1 carrier in America.

  • I know that I shouldn't be surprised, and in fact I'm not. However, our AT&T rep has been telling us that AT&T would be rolling out LTE in my market "soon" for over a year. According to this map, we're not even on the "soon" list.

    We switched to AT&T because they had the iPhone. Apple tech is a big part of our inudstry, and our President and CEO especially are big fans, and they decided that we couldn't do without. At this point though, 90% of our phones have gone out of contract in the past

Never worry about theory as long as the machinery does what it's supposed to do. -- R. A. Heinlein