Last December, Verizon inaugurated its 4G LTE network. While there was nothing but USB modems to take advantage of LTE at first, three months later we got the HTC Thunderbolt. AT&T’s been rushing to catch-up and get into the LTE game, even with its HSPA+ update to help hold it over. Now it’s finally time for AT&T’s venture into LTE to begin, with the carrier announcing the launch of its network for this coming Sunday.
Though there have been reports of parts of the network going live already, Sunday will mark the official availability of LTE on the carrier. AT&T wanted to get the ball rolling sometime this summer, so it’s really been waiting until things were right down to the wire. The first markets to receive LTE coverage are Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio; fifteen more will join them by the end of the year.
Once AT&T has LTE going, what are we going to use on it? Currently, you can pick up an LTE-compatible HTC Jetstream tablet; having any mobile device at all is certainly an improvement over Verizon’s launch. What about smartphones, though? We’ve had a few false-starts, but now it’s looking like the HTC Holiday may be the first out of the gate. It’s certainly being tested on the carrier’s network; the only question now is when it will be released. It could still be a couple months, but at least one AT&T LTE smartphone will surely be here by year’s end.