A Look at AT&T Wireless
AT&T is the largest provider of telephone communication, both fixed and mobile, in the United States. In recent years, AT&T has successfully partnered with Apple to bring users wildly popular iPhone devices, run on AT&T’s 3G network. As competitors are amping up their wireless networks, offering wide-spanning high speed internet networks that trump 3G capability, AT&T has been quick to adapt to meet user demand for 4G service.
AT&T 4G: HSPA+ Now, LTE to come
Currently, AT&T provides an HSPA+ upgrade (standard 3G coverage is termed HSPA), which when combined with enhanced backhaul, the company claims can achieve “4G-like speeds.” The 4G HSPA+ upgrade is merely a way of tiding customers over, however, until AT&T rolls out their new and improved 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) network. 4G LTE technology is expected to be made available commercially within the year. As it stands, AT&T claims the HSPA+ upgrade with enhanced backhaul can achieve 4 times the speed of its 3G network. The AT&T 4G LTE network is expected to touch speeds up to 10 times faster than its 3G predecessor. AT&T has positioned itself as the only wireless internet provider with 2 layers of 4G service, so when you’re out of 4G LTE range, or in an area yet to receive 4G LTE coverage, an HSPA+ connection may still provide improved performance.
Smart Phones – AT&T offers some of the best-selling smart phones of all time, including new 4G compatible devices, such as the HTC Inspire 4G, the Motorola Atrix 4G and the Samsung Infuse 4G (coming soon).
USB Modem – The USBConnect Shockwave 4G plugs into your laptop or portable device to give you instant mobile broadband access, depending on what coverage is available in your area. If the 4G enhanced backhaul upgrade is unavailable, the Shockwave 4G is also compatible with 3G and even 2G technology, for increased service.
Netbooks – AT&T currently offers 3G compatible netbooks, but has yet to release 4G speed netbooks.
Mobile Hotspots – Currently, mobile hotspots can connect up to 5 wireless enabled devices with 3G service. However, look for 4G hotspots to become available as AT&T continues to expand its 4G coverage area.
Even More Wireless in the Future
In March 2011, AT&T agreed in principle to acquire T-Mobile USA, a leading wireless provider it its own right. This merger is expected to enhance the service AT&T can offer current and future customers, including increased speed and performance of mobile broadband networks. By purchasing T-Mobile, the new look wireless provider has increased its total spectrum, in which providers stake limited, shared claim. Increased spectrum should result in more capable, reliable service, even as AT&T gains more customers. Not to mention, current T-Mobile customers may be able to take advantage of the AT&T 4G LTE network once it hits the commercial market.