With much anticipation, I was hoping to hear AT&T Mobility’s big boss Ralph de la Vega outline company’s LTE plans at CTIA in San Francisco. Rather, he was a no show, and with that, Ma Bell is letting Verizon become the cynosure of the LTE world.


Updated: On Monday when I wrote about San Francisco finally getting higher wireless broadband speeds, many on Twitter asked me why I left out AT&T. My reasons for omitting them weren’t emotional, even though they are the network that stands between me and the iPhone. Instead, I’ve found their future wireless broadband plans less than interesting.

Update: The broadband stories I’m interested in right now are the ones about carriers pushing the technology forward. Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile have all moved forward on broadband networks much faster than AT&T, which won’t have HSPA+ until the end of 2010. The original post misstated some details about de la Vega’s appearance at CTIA. But my point still holds. AT&T isn’t impressing me with its plans.

For instance, today Verizon announced that it’s rolling out LTE to 30 cities (including San Francisco) before 2011 rolls around. Sprint WiMAX is already being rolled out in many locations. Even T-Mobile USA, which doesn’t have a pure-play 4G network, has a better, beefier network with higher speeds that AT&T’s. It recently launched  new devices such as the T-Mobile G2, and more are coming.

AT&T, on the other hand, is talking about rolling out their LTE network sometime in 2011. Until then, the best they can offer will be some variant or other of HSPA+ technology. From the looks of it, it won’t even match the speed of T-Mobile’s new network. (They introduced three devices today, all USB cards for laptops three USB devices for laptops today, as well as three new Android-based Motorola phones. While two of the USB devices will support HSPA+ or LTE for future rollouts, the Motorola phones will support only AT&T’s current HSPA 7.2.)

I was hoping to get more details today about their future plans. Yesterday, the company sent out a press release saying that its AT&T Mobility head honcho Ralph de La Vega would be speaking at CTIA, and that they would webcast the proceedings. So far he is a no show! Vega offered a brief welcome to the CTIA crowd, and an AT&T spokesperson tells us that John Stankey, president and CEO, AT&T Business Solutions, Enterprise Applications, will present a keynote on Friday.

So there you have it. Since they don’t have anything new to talk about (and, given the pathetic state of their network, at least for me and those near-and-dear to me), there is no reason for me to include AT&T in anything discussions about the future of wireless broadband.. The company seems determined to let Verizon become the cynosure of the LTE world. But perhaps Stankey’s presentation will prove me wrong.

  1. Actually it’s worse. When speaking to AT&T network support about the poor call quality on my iPhone, I was told that the best alternative was to turn off the 3G service on my iPhone and rely on 2G/EDGE for voice and WiFi for data.

  2. A friend of mine moved a few miles to a new apartment in Orange County, Calif. Her AT&T reception was not good at the first, but is beyond terrible in the second. AT&T’s response was to tell her to buy or lease a femtocell (which is too expensive for her) and the rep told her she should have checked out her reception before moving.

  3. Just have to say VTS is better, Verizon/Tmobile/Sprint, the new standard in 4G WiMax and LTE, and no, AT&T will be never there yet.

  4. What about signalling issues – see http://techcrunch.com/2010/10/25/iphone-ditch-att-verizon/

    Puts some of the issue at Apple’s doorstep. Love to hear your thoughs. If true, you bash AT&T a little too much methink.


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