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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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  • Jason: I work from home and I'll be damned if they are going to charge me any fees or cap my usage. Just wait until Google fiber comes to Phoenix and the ex...
  • chris: was just curious to what cox had to say about all this cash cow bussiness and heres what they told me Thank you for choosing Cox Communications....
  • Joe V: I hope the people of New Jersey are happy. They voted for Chris Christie and this is exactly what they got....
  • Susan: After diligently watching my credit score for over a year and how negative as well as positive postings affect it, I have a hard time believing that o...
  • David Therchik: An intense investigation needs to put into this! As soon as one starts I bet they'll stop charging/cheating people from over usage. Before they bought...
  • Charles Bingham: I did but customer no service was no help - said it did no good to have pass word with symbols, cap and small letters and #'s. IF only I had an alte...
  • Phillip Dampier: That assumes this customer had access to a working usage meter and notification messages and ignored them. Evidently it was big enough of a problem fo...
  • Are you kidding me...: "Over the years" people are using the internet differently. If your bill went up, you have usage. Responsible would be calling and talking to them ab...
  • Charles Bingham: Actually my usage has decreased over the years as I sold my business and only kept the internet for a few tax returns that I still do, no employees no...
  • Are you kidding me...: This entire article reeks of "poor me, I'm a victim and I can't be responsible about my own Internet usage, my own bills or my own actions." Grow up....

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