According to unconfirmed US press reports, A&T’s long-awaited Long Term Evolution (LTE) mobile network has launched in five markets, namely: Dallas-Forth Worth, San Antonio, Houston, Atlanta and Chicago. Although the telco has not issued an official announcement to that effect, its coverage map has been adjusted to reflect the availability of so-called ‘fourth generation’ wireless services. Further, speaking at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Entertainment & Communications conference recently, AT&T CFO John Stephens let slip the 18 September launch date.
Last month AT&T’s chief rival Verizon Wireless announced that it had rolled out its LTE network to 15 new cities, with coverage also expanded in a further ten, bringing LTE technology to more than 160 million Americans across 117 cities – more than half the US population. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Verizon launched its LTE network on 5 December 2010, going live in 38 cities and 60 commercial airports and offering coverage of more than 110 million people at launch; nationwide coverage – ‘comparable to the current 3G coverage’ – is planned for 2013. AT&T’s rollout plans are far more modest by comparison; by the end of 2011 the operator intends to expand its LTE coverage to a total of 15 metropolitan areas, covering around 70 million Americans. In June, Ralph de la Vega, the CEO of AT&T’s mobile unit, said that he predicted that AT&T’s LTE coverage would catch up with Verizon’s within ‘two or three years’.