AT&T is getting into the LTE game this summer with inaugural service starting in five select markets in the South and Midwest. We had heard back in the spring that the carrier planned to expand that to twenty markets by the end of the year, and that it would be releasing 20 4G devices in that time, though it didn’t break down the split between LTE and HSPA+ models. Those may have been some overly-optimistic aspirations, with an AT&T exec today clarifying what we can expect.
LTE service will unsurprisingly start with USB data modems, as it did for Verizon. While we were earlier thinking that AT&T might have several LTE-capable models planned for release in the fall and holiday season, the best the carrier seems able to offer now is the promise of at least one LTE smartphone by the end of the year. In fact, it looks like this one could be right up against ropes, not coming out until nearly 2013.
Apparently, AT&T is in no hurry to rush into LTE, and says that it’s trying to get as much mileage out of HSPA+ alone as it can. Fair enough, but we’re anxious to learn more about the carrier’s LTE smartphones. Could the Motorola MB865 be the first (or only) to arrive this year?