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UPDATED: AT&T to Light Up LTE 4G Network in 2011 -- Europe Delayed until 2012?!

UPDATE: According to Ars, while AT&T is indeed shooting for 2011, the EU might just be delaying until 2012. Snap. Who's the backwater internet slowpokes now?

ORIGINAL: Ah, it seems like only yesterday when little baby GRPS, barely faster than background radiation, burst on the scene. Then came EDGE, both 2G and 2.5G for our original iPhones, and HSPA up and down for our iPhone 3G. But time flies and yesterdays super fast is tomorrow's far-too-slow, so it should come as no surprise that AT&T used the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona to announce they'll have their 4G network, known as LTE (Long Term Evolution) zipping along fat 100Mbps in just a couple of years.

Tests should begin in 2010, and deployment in 2011. (Which means customer complaints should follow roughly 30 seconds there after).

So, is AT&T's roadmap fast enough for you early adopters? Will it keep you on the iPhone network longer? And what are you most looking forward to with that ultra-boardband speed? Playing WoW on your iPhone HD? 4-way Mobile iChat? Or finally being able to load that one Facebook friend's page with every dang app conceivable jammed on it?

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • I think 2011 is too far away. We have this year and the next to wait for it. There will be three iPhones out by then. This also might affect Apple's movement technology wise with the iPhone. They could possibly have HD on the next iPhone this summer. Who knows what they have have the following year. They will have a iPhone in 2010 with the same cellular technology as their iPhone in 2008. I hope there is some kind of 3.5G speeds in the mean time that current 3G models can tap into. With LTE, I want to see the same things people in Europe have ( video conference ) with cheap plans.
  • HSPA+ will be 3.5G
  • "Tests should begin in 2010, and deployment in 2011. (Which means customer complaints should follow roughly 30 seconds there after)."
    You guys really crack me up.
    I don't think this is too bad of a timeline, considering they are still expanding 3G. And I don't think Verizon will have theirs out any faster.
  • I have an idea (scary I know!)...let's get the 3G network where it needs to be before we begin investing in a failed 4G infrastructure. C'mon AT&T, give us a break with this crap. FAIL on the 3G network doesn't mean start working on 4G.
  • 2011....thats just SAD.
  • Interesting thought that will never happen - deploying 4G first in areas that need 3G coverage but aren't currently serviced. I know, it'll never happen because the best 3G areas will get 4G first because you have to put the money where the money comes from to some extent. In any case, looking forward to 100M/bit OTA :) Assuming it won't fry my brain as I use it.
  • When is 3.5G? Are there any rumors yet?
  • Great! 100mbps! I've always thought battery life was overrated anyway.
  • Jesus I can't even use 3g now with the iphones awful baterry I can't imagine 4g. And what phone has the processing power to handle that
  • OK. AT&T will roll out the LTE network in 2011. We've seen that one of the limiting factors for 3G has been the 3G chip sets and their power consumption. The first gen iPhone didn't have a 3G chipset. The current one has a power hungry one. My question is what happens with LTE? Clearly, the first chips will be intended to work first and consume power at a lower rate later. Is waiting for LTE better for the iPhone? Likely. But can we all wait that long. One more thing. The Europeans will likely have LTE earlier. Does Apple offer one device for the world or go with 2 devices in the near future?
  • I'd just be happy if AT&T lived up to their "More bars in more places" slogan. I love my iPhone, but it sure would be nice to be able to use it in buildings and at home, or even in places where every other network has full bars. I'm just waiting to take my iPhone to a better alternative.
  • Is 4G in any way backward compatible with 3G devices?
    Can they co-exist on the same bandwidth?
    Would 3G continue to be rolled out in now areas once 4G is available, or are 17 million Iphone customers disposable?
    Boy this reminds me of the Dial Up Modem wars of the 80s/90s.
  • We have 21mbps in Australia, there saying we should have 40mbps about the end of this year.
  • 2011 is perfect. then AT&T can broadcast oversized commercials boasting about this groundbreaking, cutting edge service called 4G. Kinda like they did with 3G in '08? Only problem was every other carrier had been using 3G for three years. VZ is in their 5th and final year in 3G and is moving to LTE 4G at the end of this year. I love the iphone, but it's off to VZ the minute the LTE networks light up. My bet is that there is an Apple device on VZ's 4G network next year. Maybe it's not the iphone, but who every said Apple was only in the market to make one device?
  • Looks like Europe is DELAYING LTE until 2012?!
  • WoW on the iPhone? YES PLZ!!! Make this happen now! Even if it's just the ability to hit the AH while on the crapper at work, I <3 the idea. PLZ make this happen. FTW!
  • I don't think that the news about European carriers delaying LTE until 2012 is accurate. TeliaSonera currently has LTE test networks up in Stockholm and Oslo, and are going for commercial launch in Stockholm, Oslo and possibly Helsinki, Finland by January 2010:
  • Свобода слова на блоге - это всегда хорошо! Главное, чтобы общественности было что автору сказать :)
  • I understand that when Verizon "gets" the I phone it will cost $600 instead of the $200 at AT&T. What a shame. I like Verizon and the I phone. However, I will not be able to spend $600.00 for a phone. The Storm is nice, however, the apps are not there. What a rip off.
  • See above
  • Nice blog, merely bookmarked it for later reference