AT&T Demos 28.87Mbps Downloads on LTE Trial Network

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LTEAT&T demonstrated a trial Long Term Evolution (LTE) network to GigaOm (via AppleInsider) on Thursday, showing download speeds of up to 28.87Mbps and upload speeds of 10.4Mbps. The network is setup on the company’s Foundry R&D space in Plano, TX, and was built using two different swaths of spectrum to maximize data throughput.

LTE is often referred to as a “4G” network, though standards organizations are still hammering out just what “4G” will mean. Be that as it may, LTE is the next big thing in U.S. for mobile phones, and different implementations of LTE have been deployed by AT&T competitors Verizon and regional players like MetroPCS, while Sprint launched a competing “4G” technology called WiMAX 4G in 2008.

The speed demonstrated by AT&T would make its LTE implentation the fastest in the U.S. market, crushing the 5-12Mbps that Verizon has been promising its customers, which itself is far faster than the 3.8Mbps down and 1.2Mbps up that iPhone users get on a good day on AT&T’s 3G network.

GigaOm was told, however, that once multiple phones started competing for data on a cell tower, those super fast speeds would be lower. Just how much lower isn’t known, but the AT&T execs giving the tour of the Foundry pitched reporters on the notion that they were trying to demonstrate real-world situations.

No launch date for nationwide or even regional LTE service has been announced, and it’s not known when Apple will be adding support for LTE to its iPhone line.

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14 Comments Leave Your Own

Joze

The 2GB cap makes this any higher speeds demoed by AT&T completely redundant.

The faster it is, the more overage fees will fall into their pockets.

b9bot

Easy to get high speeds when your network isn’t being used by millions of customers. When the network is loaded with customers then test it to see what speeds you’ll get. Probably won’t be any better than the current one at twice the price!
Basically bragging about speed now is pointless AT&T.

Bryan Chaffin

Joze, while there will no doubt be annoying data caps when AT&T does launch its LTE network, they will likely be far different caps with far different data plans than what is currently in place for the company’s 3G network.

If not, however, a 2GB cap with much faster speeds would be infuriating, to say the least.

geoduck

I keep thinking of the story of the Golden Goose.

Between data caps, and loaded networks, and overage charges that make you need to take out a second mortgage are the cell companies costing themselves sales?

The question us tech types keep asking is iPhone or Android. Has anyone stopped to think of ‘neither’ as an option? An article from Februarycrowed about how 63 million Americans are using SmartPhones. Buried deeper in the article is the bit about how in the same period 234 million Americans were using cell phones. That means for all of their vaunted superiority, something like 73% of cell users are not opting for an iPhone, Android Phone, BlackBerry, or anything like that. I suspect it’s not because they don’t know they are there, or don’t understand the advantage. I suspect it’s because the service is not worth the money to them. I know in my case it’s because the cost is prohibitive. I have a cheap LG phone and I pay $25 per month. I also have an iPod Touch and one of the first apps I downloaded was WiFiGet Scan, which has a list of free hotspots in my area. Poof, I get most of the functionality without the cost. Sure I have to carry two devices but is the small convenience really worth an extra $75-$100 per month? I don’t think so. Sure I can’t check my e-mail or GoogleMaps in the car but it’s illegal to use a cell while driving here. the benefits simply aren’t worth the cost to me. Apparently nearly three quarters of Americans agree.

So this demo by AT&T is cool. Neat tech. But most people will not be impressed. To paraphrase an old campaign slogan: It’s the cost stupid. I might get an iPhone, if I could pay $50 per month or less. I think a LOT of people would. But rolling out a new faster but more expensive service when I already don’t think the current one is worth the money is not going to entice this customer.

OTOH if 200 million Americans went out this weekend and got SmartPhones the networks would lock up solid. So maybe that is their strategy: keep the costs prohibitive because they couldn’t handle more customers.

Lee Dronick

I might get an iPhone, if I could pay $50 per month or less. I think a LOT of people would. But rolling out a new faster but more expensive service when I already don?t think the current one is worth the money is not going to entice this customer.

We probably don’t have enough cell service providers to bring prices down via competition.

geoduck

We probably don?t have enough cell service providers to bring prices down via competition.

That is, I believe, the problem here in Canada. We have the big 3, Rogers, Telus, & Bell, that control nearly the whole market. They don’t ‘collude’ on prices, they just happen to charge the same amount.

Fastflyer

Does anyone know if either AT&T LTE band is in the same low frequency band as the Lightsquared LTE system planned for Verizon. The US Air Force has run an analysis on the Lightsquared system and predicts GPS signal interruption. As I understand it the test tower in Nevada is proving the USAF prediction to be true with empirical data. If Lightsquared can’t solve this problem they are dead in the water because GPS is a national resource and interference won’t be tolerated. Hopefully neither AT&T frequency mentioned is adjacent to the GPS band as is Lightsquared’s and AT&T can progress.

jimothy

That is, I believe, the problem here in Canada. We have the big 3, Rogers, Telus, & Bell, that control nearly the whole market. They don?t ?collude? on prices, they just happen to charge the same amount.

That they charge the same price isn’t necessarily a sign of collusion. In a free market (not that I am claiming that Canadian wireless is a free market), prices would tend to equalize, because if one company was offering a lower price, customers would flock there, leading the other companies to lower their prices.

You comment implies you think that companies are raising their prices to match each other, but it could also be that they are lowering prices in line with each other.

The actual situation is more complex than that, but I do what to emphasize that price parity is not, itself, evidence of collusion.

geoduck

You comment implies you think that companies are raising their prices to match each other, but it could also be that they are lowering prices in line with each other.

Possibly but in this case it’s not.
Check this study by Bank of America. It clearly shows that Canada has the highest rates for cell phones. As such it also has some of the lowest penetration. It’s easy to blame this on the big open spaces that are in Canada, but the overwhelming majority of the Canadian population lives within one or two hundred miles of the US border. It’s IMO clearly price related.

And on the collusion bit, I agree. Unspoken understandings to match each others increases are not collusion, but they still hurt the consumer.

Mikuro

I have a cheap LG phone and I pay $25 per month.

I have an Android and I also pay $25/month. Virgin Mobile is cheap and they offer two Android phones. They’re low-end Android phones, but still. I was paying the same for service with my old $10 dumbphone, so I’m pretty happy with my upgrade.

But I agree with you completely. I’d love to have an iPhone or a high-end Android. I can justify a large one-time cost for phone hardware, but an extra $60-70 every month is too hard to swallow.

John Dingler, artist

STE seems so far into the future so I will comment on an immediate issue:

Upon opening this page the relevant news to me became that Macobserver has apparently stopped the awful practice of forcing its web pages to take over the whole computer screen, which then forces me to narrow the window for the windows of other programs. Hope this new mode is site-wide. It’s a good innovation from the traditional, thoughtful past. Thanks.

Now I hope that it fixes this input field’s behaviour. Here are its problems: 1. It hides the text on one side or the other, 2. and the resize corner handle becomes hidden thus eliminating the capability to change the size of the input field, 3. and the CAPTCHA input field is hidden when I expand the text via <Com +>.

I always use Safari. its version is 5.0.5

Fastflyer

@John Interesting. I have none of those problems using Safari.

John Dingler, artist

Hi Fastflyer,
Yeah, today for the first time. Just checked my Safari prefs. I have the “Zoon text only” checked. Perhaps I turned on this feature inadvertently and recently, but I thought I had it on for months.

Of course, I meant to say LTE, not STE.

Fastflyer

I have the ?Zoon text only? checked.

A little Microsoft lingo creeping into your post? (Grin)
Thanks for the update on the fix. I’ll keep it in mind if I ever have a similar experience.

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