While Verizon’s LTE network is quickly spreading, AT&T is taking its time. AT&T’s new LTE network will launch in only 5 markets this summer and 15 by the end of the year. By then, Verizon will be covering 175 markets.
AT&T is currently working to provide a better spectrum for its customers, focusing more on improving the alternative 4G network, HSPA+. When out of LTE connectivity, 4G customers will fall back on HSPA+. This is still a very speedy network compared to Verizon’s EV-DO 3G network, which is what Verizon customers fall back to after moving away from 4G LTE coverage.
We are the only carrier with LTE and HSPA+. When you don't have LTE you will fall back to faster speeds than our competitorsPete RitcherSenior
It seems that said carrier is still trying to get some juice out of its 3G network. According to AT&T Senior Vice President Pete Ritcher, data traffic will be distributed among their LTE and HSPA+ networks, hence improving their 3G data speeds.
We will offload traffic to the spectrum for LTE and it will help with the performance of our 3G networkPete RitcherSenior
With that said, AT&T will be slowly spreading its 4G LTE network, with at least one LTE device being released by the end of the year. It does not seem likely that the iPhone 5 will be an LTE device, so odds are that Android fans will be getting a treat. Just like Verizon, AT&T will be offering access to the LTE speeds via data cards, with smartphones coming later on. You’ll be able to get a taste of these stunning data speeds before that smartphone is released.
AT&T is not moving as fast as Verizon, but it seems they are trying to form an established plan and have more alternatives. AT&T will not be rushing this network to the market. Instead, they will wait for devices to mature and proceed carefully.
Verizon’s 4G network has been known to have issues, and going from 4G LTE to 3G sure felt like a huge step down. An LTE outage wouldn’t have been a huge issue for AT&T users, since they would have fallen back on HSPA+ speeds. What do you guys think? Do you prefer a slowly growing, more reliable network or a quickly growing and very fast network?