AT&T hopes to roll out 4G technology by 2011

Cyrus Farivar
19 February, 2009
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If you didn’t know what to get your love for Valentine’s Day, you can thank AT&T for getting you better wireless service—well, in two years, anyway. Hopefully your significant other will take a raincheque.

On Monday, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the mobile provider announced that it would be rolling out Long-Term Evolution (LTE) wireless broadband technology by 2011. Presuming that everything goes according to plan, this would replace the often spotty 3G service currently in use around the US.

LTE, of course, is the upcoming wireless broadband standard that you’ll probably be calling “4G” when it finally hits the big time. This new technology can apparently handle downloads at 100 Mbps and uploads of 50 Mbps for every 20 MHz of spectrum—in layman’s terms, that’s pretty flippin’ fast, folks. [ed. -- no concrete announcements about LTE in Australia yet, but hopefully this announcement will bring local carriers' plans out of the closet].

About a year ago, Keith Shank of Ericsson told GigaOm that “in the real world it will likely resemble 20 Mbps down and 5 Mbps up.” The site also reported that Verizon began LTE tests last year too, meaning that yes, Virginia, we may actually have a single wireless standard in the not too distant future. Keep those fingers crossed.

Still, 20 Mbps down? That’s still waaaaaay better than my pokey 3 Mbps DSL.

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