About a month and a half ago, one of our Apple Store sources told us that some Verizon techs had visited that day and upgraded the in-store cell equipment to LTE.  At the time, LTE iPhones seemed like a distant possibility for upcoming iPhones and a Verizon source told us that upgrades to cell boxes were happening somewhat arbitrarily all over the country.  Tim Cook, in a conference call earlier this year, made it sound like LTE was going to have to wait until later builds.

Tim Cook said that these early generation LTE chips would require too many compromises in design.

But yesterday things changed when a report detailled the LTE (specifically Verizon in this case) strings that were pulled from a carrier version of iOS OTA updates.  Could the changing of the iPhone release schedule be timed to allow Apple to get the most modern LTE chips in iPhones aas well as give the networks time to mature?

Fast forward to this today, where Engadget says AT&T is also upgrading its on-premise Apple Store Cells to LTE.

 

Sure, but it possible that AT&T is just building up its nationwide infrastructure ahead of its LTE rollout, which today it announced (below) was going to start in 5 cities next month and…

By the end of 2011, AT&T plans to offer 4G LTE to customers in at least 15 markets, covering 70 million Americans.

Realistically, does that sound like the type of  mainstream network Apple will aim its iPhone 5 towards?

First LTE/HSPA+ Devices Arrive in AT&T Stores Aug. 21

AT&T USBConnect Momentum 4G and AT&T Mobile Hotspot Elevate 4G Eligible for $50, 5GB Data Plans

DallasTexasAugust 16, 2011

Key Facts

  • The AT&T* USBConnect Momentum 4G** and AT&T Mobile Hotspot Elevate 4G** will be available in stores and online Aug. 21.
  • AT&T also confirmed data pricing for data-only mobile broadband devices on the company’s forthcoming LTE network.
  • Customers will be able to choose 5 gigabytes of data for a monthly rate of $50 with any additional data consumed available for $10 per gigabyte.
  • The LTE-upgradeable AT&T USBConnect Adrenaline will also be able to be updated to LTE beginning Aug. 26.

Data Plan Options

As the first devices that will be able to take advantage of AT&T’s future 4G LTE network arrive in AT&T stores, customers who choose the AT&T USBConnect Momentum 4G andAT&T Mobile Hotspot Elevate 4G will be able to select the same $50 for 5 GB data option as many current USBConnect or Mobile Hotspot customers do today.

Also capable of 4G speeds on AT&T’s HSPA+ network, the USBConnect Momentum 4G, Mobile Hotspot Elevate 4G will be the only LTE devices in the United States to have a 4G/HSPA+ network with enhanced backhaul to fall back to if a customer moves outside of LTE coverage.

Already in customers’ hands, the AT&T USBConnect Adrenaline is LTE-upgradeable, containing an LTE chipset that can be enabled with a software update. Those customers can visit www.att.com/adrenaline to download that update beginning Aug. 26.

LTE Roadmap

AT&T recently announced plans to roll out 4G LTE in five markets – Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio – later this summer. Customers with compatible devices and 4G LTE coverage in those markets will be able to enjoy access to 4G LTE speeds as AT&T’s 4G LTE is turned up.

As AT&T rolls out 4G LTE, customers outside of its 4G LTE coverage areas will still have access to AT&T’s fast HSPA+ network. When combined with enhanced backhaul, HSPA+ enables 4G speeds that are up to four times faster than AT&T’s already fast mobile broadband speeds. Because AT&T has taken the extra step of deploying HSPA+ technology with enhanced backhaul, its customers will have access to consistently fast mobile broadband speeds when moving in and out of 4G LTE areas.

By the end of 2011, AT&T plans to offer 4G LTE to customers in at least 15 markets, covering 70 million Americans.

Learn more about AT&T’s LTE network, the AT&T USBConnect Momentum 4G and AT&T Mobile Hotspot Elevate 4G at http://www.att.com/,www.att.com/attusbconnectmomentum4g and www.att.com/attmobilehotspotelevate4g.

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

** Limited 4G LTE availability in select markets. 4G speeds delivered by HSPA+ (with enhanced backhaul) or LTE, where available. Compatible data plan required. LTE is a trademark of ETSI. Learn more at att.com/network.

AT&T USBConnect Momentum 4G and AT&T Mobile Hotspot Elevate 4G: Limited-time offer. Requires 2 year agreement with qualifying DataConnect Plan. Mobile broadband coverage and other coverage not available in all areas. See coverage map at store for details. Subscriber must live and have a mailing address within AT&T’s owned wireless network coverage area. Up to $36 activation fee applies. Equipment price and availability may vary by market and may not be available from independent retailers. DataConnect is not unlimited and overage charges of $10 per each GB provided will be incurred if included monthly data allowance is exceeded. Early Termination Fee: None if cancelled in the first 30 days, but up to $35 restocking fee may apply to returns; thereafter up to $325. Some agents impose additional fees. Other conditions and restrictions apply. See contract for details. Sales tax calculated based on price of unactivated equipment.

AT&T USBConnect Adrenaline is not capable of 4G speeds on AT&T’s HSPA+ network.


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