Why AT&T won't be releasing an LTE iPhone 4G this year either...

Fatty iPhone 4 for AT&T LTE iPhone rumors

AT&T isn't getting an LTE iPhone 4G any time soon but they are launching 4G, in fact -- look up, look down -- they just did! Actually, what they did was call HSPA+ "4G" because it goes faster than regular old HSPA 3G and because T-Mobile is already doing that and Sprint is calling WiMax "4G", and Verizon is calling early LTE "4G", so why not? And when real LTE 4G comes out, that could be called 4G as well (though I bet they'll call it 5G to have even more Gs, because that's better, right?)

I got to watch a little of the brouhaha unfold this morning live in the CES hallways and after talking it over with some fellow bloggers the nut seems to be this -- AT&T might get an HSPA+ iPhone "4G" later this year or next year or maybe they'll get an LTE iPhone 4G in 2012, but we don't know and the terms are so deliberately marketing skewed it doesn't mean much anyway at this point. (iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 only supports HSPA 7.2, not the much faster HSPA+ 21 carriers like Bell and Telus have been offering for a while already.)

All you really have to know is this -- future iPhones will be faster, most years by a little, once in a while by a lot.

[Update: BGR says maybe HSPA+ "4G" next year]

We now return you to our regularly scheduled Verizon, iPhone 5, and iPad 2 rumors...

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Why AT&T won't be releasing an LTE iPhone 4G this year either...


Technobuffalo was able to check out AT&T LTE on an HTC phone and was able to get 60mb download speeds!! They said real world would probable be 10-15mb depending on how many people are usin the same tower, but this seems much faster than the lte verizon rolling out.

Not that I wouldn't mind faster speeds but where I live at least 3G is perfect. Hell ive even played xbox live over it. I'd like maybe for the phone to have more features, maybe enough to not require jailbreak.

I've been thinking this for a while now.
It would seem easier for apple to support HSPA+ in the next iteration of the iPhone, rather than being an early adopter of LTE.
Also, they could easily claim to have 'the fastest' smartphone by supporting 21 or 42 mbs. Verizon LTE doesn't even come close to that.
Not sure if chips exist to support 42mbs on a mobile device yet though.

LTE is a non-issue for me. 3G is plenty fast in my area. Besides, version 1.0 of most anything bites. I'd be more than happy to wait for the next revision.

LTE most certainly isn't "the real 4G." The real 4G will combine voice and data into a single all-IP all-packet-switched stream. Current technology, even LTE, has separate voice and data channels.
Like they say in auto racing, "You can't turn a pig into a thoroughbred, but you can make a really fast pig."

Also, one of AT&T's hardware partners let slip that the AT&T LTE buildout would be substantially finished by the end of 2013. So don't hold your breath for the "real 4G," which will likely use the LTE Advanced spec.

When Android is moving very quickly to LTE, Apple won't make a move for another year. This is the same type of lackadaisical attitude that has crippled BlackBerry. I just can't see it.

How about they get 3G in certain areas before we think about 4G!! I live in a semi big city and not even 3G and I can go home and my parents live in BFE and they have it!! Come on AT&T!!

The update said no LTE iphone was announced today. A "4G" HSPA+ iphone was what was referred to.
Close to 100% of AT&T's network has been updated for HSPA+.

Who cares if it's true 4G or not. All the consumer cares about is fast speeds. They could call it 4GG stating it's twice as fast as regular G and people would be in a frenzy. Lol.

i can tell anything written by Rene cause it has a distinct tone. I'll leave it to you to decide what exactly that is or if it's bad or good.
"what they did was call HSPA+ “4G” because it goes faster than regular old HSPA 3G and because T-Mobile is already doing that and Sprint is calling WiMax “4G”, and Verizon is calling early LTE “4G”, so why not?"
honestly i don't think most people care in the slightest. Like they don't care about whether android is "fragmented", Palm is small, or Apple is "open".

If the xG nomenclature isn't really regulated, I expect carriers will come out with a new G every year. Tmobile will call LTE 9G by then..
In any case, it doesn't really matter. Data speeds are becoming a "my dad can beat your dad up" argument anyway. Its just sad that these marketing gimmicks actually seem to work on the peons

@9th Wonder
Can you imagine the ridiculous fanboy arguments that are going on in the hotel rooms in Vegas right now? OMG, Rene is calling the Android Central guys fragmented loving SOB's and the AC guys are telling Rene that he's Steve Jobs' puppet. All the while all of them have awesome phones and can't even appreciate the others device!

actually no because my brain tends to shut off when hearing such arguments too to keep from exploding. Like a iron that shuts off when it falls over to keep from burning down the house.

i spent the holidays with my EVO having brother. Amazingly he never mentioned the phrase "It's not real 4G" or the word "fragmented." Funny though when i showed him "Soundhound" he said "Oh my God that's so cool." And he said "check this out. I can send a text with my voice. I sent all my holiday texts that way." He's totally should be spending his time worrying about how fast his 4G is (sarcasm).

Isnt sending a text w ur voice totally missing the point. I refuse to use v control, caus u look like a moron in public screaming at ur phone to do something that would have been faster and more efficient w ur fingers any way.

Actually, Rene, they're calling HSPA+ "4G" now because the ITU said it is 4G. Unless you have some alternate, reliable source that told you that someone at AT&T asked "why not?" just for the hell of it, you should consider the more obvious reason for the reclassification of their HSPA+ efforts. Further reading: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2374564,00.asp

No, the iPhone 4 does not physically support HSPA+. Thus no software update can enable access to 4G on the current iPhone.

NoOoOoOoOoOo!!!!! Why do I continue to follow a company who's products only have a year life span? I buy the new iPhone and a new one is out in a year. Buy a iPad and the new one is out next year. Buy an iShuffle and new one out, bought an iMac and new one came out this year. WTHeck! My iPhone 4 will be worthless if AT&T has 4G network n my SO ADVANCE PHONE won't support it?! Give me at least 2 years with your products Apple, Jeeezzzee!!!! (I know someone is going to say there life span is longer nexus u can still use the product as long as you like but I'm talking about the life span of it being the newest) Well hope everyone is enjoying there new year so far! Thanks whatever for replying to my comment.

I really don't understand ur argument. So u want apple to come out a product once every 2-3 years. Personally I like how apple is doing that once a year thing. U should talk with an android user. Their device feel out dated 2-3 months after launch. And some can't even update to the most current os due to skin/carriers etc. So just be happy with what u have.

Do what i do. At the end of the year, sell the old iphone on ebay for more than the cost of a new one. U end up getting free upgrades. Been doing it since the iphone 3g (2).

I honestly feel like punching companies that call it "4G" when it isn't. So Canada has had "4G" for what? 2 years now? But yeah it is unfortunate that my iPhone 4 (and I guess the iPhone 5) aren't "4G" since it would make tethering that much faster :P

Read my comment above. HSPA+ IS 4G. The only people with authority to say so HAVE said so. HSPA+ starts at 21 Mbps and is scheduled to become upgradable to 672 Mbps. It's 4G. Not because I said so and not because any carrier said so--but because the International Telecommunication Union said so.
And by the way, prior to the recent reclassification of HSPA+ as "4G," even Verizon's current flavor of LTE and Sprint's WIMAX were only considered 3G by the ITU. So technically no one would have 4G if the ITU hadn't adjusted the definition of 4G a couple weeks ago.

I just want service in my apartment. I know Los Angeles is kind of small, but can't the small fries catch a break?

Umm. Stop reading then. R u kidding me, no one is putting a gun to ur head, oh yea, u just like to complain.

how much money is Rene R. getting from rim or verizon to talk S.. about the iPhone or At&t. sometime he write some non sense articles.
Yo, if you don't like the iPhone or apple, get a droid, and a blackberry.. or better yet. sell your website to somebody who really love apple and their products.
My god.

doesn't mean crap. anybody could get pay no matter if you live in brazil..
most of the people who come to this website, are americans.. so is really good for him get pay from them.. to ad.. here. boy