AT&T Adds New Devices Ahead of Faster 4G Network

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In preparation for the release of more details about its next generation mobile broadband network, AT&T (s t) has introduced three new data devices for laptop users, two of which will support the carrier’s faster HSPA+ or LTE networks in the future. Those two — the USBConnect Adrenaline and USBConnect Shockwave — will be available with a two-year contract, while the third, the USBConnect 900, is a contract-free, pre-paid data device. With the new dongles, AT&T is ensuring that customers can take advantage of data network upgrades currently in progress and planned for the future.

Although AT&T is just now running LTE trials in Dallas and Baltimore, it plans to launch LTE service by mid-2011 and cover approximately 75 million people with LTE service by the end of next year. That’s where a device such as the $49.99 Adrenaline comes in: The software on the USB data stick can be upgraded so that it works on today’s 3G network but will also work on the future 4G network. The free Shockwave dongle won’t work on LTE, but it can take advantage at AT&T’s planned HSPA+ network. The third device, the USBConnect 900 built by Huawei, costs $79.99 and uses AT&T’s current 3G network, but offers flexibility without a contract. Customers with this device can pre-pay for a Day, Week or Month Pass: Respective data prices are $15, $30 and $50, providing capacities of 100 MB, 300 MB and 1 GB of data.

company CEO Ralph de la Vega gives the keynote at the CTIA industry event at 9:30 a.m. PT Verizon’s (s vz) plans to launch LTE in 25 to 30 markets, covering 100 million people within the next three months AT&T’s step-by-step strategy of moving first from HSPA+, then to LTE

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