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AT&T Launches 4G/LTE Service: The Fastest Wireless Internet You Can’t Afford to Use

Phillip Dampier September 20, 2011 AT&T, Broadband Speed, Internet Overcharging, Wireless Broadband No Comments

AT&T flipped the switch Sunday on its new 4G-LTE wireless data network, and the resulting next-generation wireless speeds now available to customers in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, Texas are impressive, averaging 23.6Mbps on the download and 15.2Mbps for uploads during a three-day test.

Mobile World reports initial testing by Signals Research in Houston delivered a peak data rate of a massive 61.1Mbps.  The researchers transferred nearly 90GB of data back and forth during the weekend tests, almost always at data rates above 5Mbps.

AT&T intends to compliment its existing “4G” HSPA+ network with a gradual rollout of LTE service in their major markets, eventually covering 44,000 nodes over a three-year period.

AT&T will first introduce its LTE service to wireless mobile broadband customers who will find the USB modems on sale with a two-year service commitment.  Support for the network on smartphones will come later.

A few important points to consider before becoming too excited with AT&T’s speed ratings:

  1. Signals Research conducted the tests on an effectively empty network.  Since AT&T hasn’t started selling LTE-capable smartphones yet, the only ones using the network are AT&T’s mobile broadband customers, most of whom are using AT&T’s older HSPA+ service.  AT&T doesn’t guarantee any particular speed, and it’s a safe bet speeds will slow considerably when smartphone customers eventually pile on board.
  2. That speed comes at a significant price.  AT&T is charging $50 a month for mobile broadband service with a 5GB usage cap.  Each additional gigabyte runs $10.  Signals Research is lucky they didn’t pay AT&T the going rate during their tests.  That 90GB of data would result in a bill from AT&T amounting to $50 for service, and $850 in overlimit penalties.

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  • AustinTX: Yep, this isn't about "your old modem isn't capable of the wonderful new speeds we're providing to your service tier", it's about "we know your custom...
  • MJ Lee: This is strange. I did get a letter from Time Warner saying my apartment was qualified for Time Warner Cable Maxx, but when I applied for it, I got an...
  • Tim: You know this is overstating the case ... unlimited data adsl2 plans are available from $60 in Australia. Average price is about $90...
  • Phillip Dampier: I think 10/Gbps is available in the USA as well, on an obscenely expensive metro Ethernet or commercial fiber link provisioned by a telecom company. ...
  • Phillip Dampier: Singapore is doing a much better job than Malaysia with fiber speeds and pricing, and competition is what is driving speeds up and prices down. If you...
  • Phillip Dampier: We've covered South African broadband here before. At least South Africa now has uncapped broadband, so count that as a victory. International capacit...
  • SumTinWong: So korea, how much bandwidth do you have to other countries. It's all nice and good if you got supergigabit but only get 1mbit to facebook/netflix. In...
  • Richard: In New Zealand using Vodafone Supernet (Coaxial Cable. Plan Speeds are 50mb/s / 2mb/s) Test just ran from Christchurch to other side of Australia, Pe...
  • G Hamar: Why am I not surprised at this - S.Korea is the de facto standard by which all others must now try to reach. You hear Comcast & Time Warner Cable...
  • Gaurav K. Guha: I live in Mumbai, India. I currently have a 50 mbps connection for which i pay 1200 rupees a month. Thats approximately 20 usd. So.... Haha!...
  • friesian: German here. For my VDSL2 broadband access with 50Mbps down and 10Mbps upstream I have to pay 30€ monthly... Just wondering about the Romanian pr...
  • Tom: No surprise.. 2 years ago, in the election race of the Governor of Gyeonggi Province it was the official pledges from one of top 2 candidates that he ...

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