As we reported about a week ago, AT&T began rolling out LTE to 12 new markets on Easter Sunday. Although quite a few LTE symbols were popping up on devices in the area before then, today is the official “grand opening” of AT&T’s fastest network yet for us here in the Lou.
To see network upgrades regarding your neck of the woods,
check out AT&T’s very own St. Louis website: http://att.com/StLouisNetwork
What is LTE?
So what does LTE mean for you? First, let’s discuss what LTE means… Long-Term Evolution. This new technology is actually closer to “4G” than any other 4G technology on the market. Both AT&T and T-Mobile claim their HSPA+ networks to be 4G, when in technical terms it’s more like a “3.5G” technology. Sprint was first to the scene with an actual 4G protocol called “WiMAX”. It had the potential to be a true 4G contender, however they are ditching it in favor of LTE. Here’s a list of the benefits of going with LTE for your smartphone or tablet’s wireless data needs:
- Faster speeds. LTE technology is capable of delivering mobile Internet speeds up to 10 times faster than 3G. Customers can stream, download, upload and game faster than ever before.
- Cool new devices. AT&T offers several LTE-compatible devices, including new AT&T 4G LTE smartphones and tablets, such as the first LTE Windows Phone Nokia Lumia 900, Samsung Galaxy Note™, and Pantech Element™ tablet.
- Faster response time. LTE technology offers lower latency, or the processing time it takes to move data through a network, such as how long it takes to start downloading a webpage or file once you’ve sent the request. Lower latency helps to improve services like mobile gaming, two-way video calling and telemedicine.
- More efficient use of spectrum. Wireless spectrum is a finite resource, and LTE uses spectrum more efficiently than other technologies, creating more space to carry data traffic and services and to deliver a better network experience.
Simply put, this new technology has enough wiggle room to last. More people, more data, faster speeds, less waiting. Let’s say your current device gets around 2-3 Mbps of transfer speed. LTE has seen reported speeds of over 10 Mbps. Here in the Lou I’ve seen 10.4 Mbps achieved in person. Others found to be consistently above 20 Mbps. The quickest I’ve seen online was 60 Mbps. For comparison, the fastest DSL internet option through AT&T U-Verse only goes up to 12 Mbps. So LTE is fast… real fast.
AT&T’s Current 4G LTE lineup
There are currently 9 devices (not counting personal hotspot “Mifi” wireless routers) that can access the new network protocol:
- Nokia Lumia 900, the first offering from the Nokia/Microsoft partnership
- HTC Vivid, now running Android 4.0
- LG Nitro HD, featuring a 1280x720p display
- Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket, an LTE-capable revision of the hugely popular GSII line
- Samsung Galaxy Note, 5.3″ screen with a stylus
- Pantech Burst, your cheapest route into the LTE world at just $49.99
- Pantech Element, an 8″ tablet that is waterproof
- Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9, super thin and now super fast
- iPad 3 LTE, the latest and greatest tablet from Apple
Do you have one of the devices listed above? What kind of speeds are you getting? What do you think about the coverage map of 4G LTE? If you’re not with AT&T currently, what would it take for you to switch?
For more of the latest news for AT&T in the St. Louis area, follow @ATT_STL on Twitter