AT&T announced today that it’s turned on its high-speed 4G LTE network in Seattle.
AT&T had been building its super-fast LTE (long-term evolution) network in Seattle for a while now, and has turned on LTE in other cities, but had not specified when it would go live in Seattle.
LTE technology is designed to deliver data fast, with faster download and upload time, and lower latency time. AT&T says it’s capable of delivering mobile Internet speeds up to 10 times faster than 3G.
Among the LTE-compatible devices AT&T currently offers are the Nokia Lumia 900, Samsung Focus 2, Motorola ATRIX HD, Sony Xperia ion, HTC One X, Samsung Galaxy Note and Pantech Element tablet.
The iPhone 5 will be on that list as well. And presumably, the Nokia Lumia 920 may be as well, though AT&T did not offer any detail on that. (AT&T also would not confirm rumors of an Oct. 21 launch date for the Nokia Lumia 920. Others have pegged the launch date for the Lumia 920 as Nov. 2.)
Both AT&T and Verizon have been building their LTE networks nationwide. According to The Associated Press, Verizon launched its LTE network nearly two years ago and has the widest coverage with 370 cities (including Seattle and the Eastside. Verizon will also be carrying the iPhone 5.). AT&T is second, with 62 cities. Sprint’s LTE network covers 19 cities, mainly in Texas and Georgia.
T-Mobile is building up its LTE network. In February it had announced a $4 billion upgrade to its LTE network technology, going online in 2013.
AT&T boasts in its news release that it has “the nation’s largest 4G network, covering 275 million people with ultra-fast speeds and a more consistent user experience. That’s coverage in 3,000 more 4G cities and towns than Verizon.” But that presumably includes both the super-fast 4G LTE network and 4G HSPA+, which, while faster than what was available before, is not as fast as LTE.
Update 12:42 p.m.: I just talked with Mike Maxwell, AT&T vice president and general manager for the Pacific Northwest. I asked him what geographic area is covered when AT&T says its LTE network is now live in Seattle. He says that, in addition to the Seattle core, the following areas now also have AT&T LTE coverage:
Tacoma is not yet on that list though Maxwell said there’s “good news coming soon” on that front.