Indeed, no specific date was set for any LTE phone release and AT&T’s senior vice president of mobility and consumer markets, Peter Ritcher confirmed that the company will first focus on network deployment and then on product development and launching. AT&T explains that before offering an LTE phone, it needs to be able to have networks that support the technology too. AT&T customers can, until then, enjoy AT&T’s LTE data cards and routers to connect their laptops to the new LTE network.
During the summer, AT&T will deploy its network in five markets — Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio — and hopes to cover 15 markets and 70 million Americans by the end of the year.
LTE leader Verizon Wireless is already covering all major US markets and has a comfortable head start over AT&T even though both carriers are promoting similar data transmission speeds on their 4G LTE networks. However, Peter Ritcher emphasized that in case an AT&T customer finds him/herself in an area not yet covered by AT&T’s LTE, he/she will fall back on the carrier’s HSPA+ network, which supposedly allows considerably faster speeds than Verizon’s EV-DO support network.
AT&T’s efforts to build a network before offering new LTE devices might not be the news that LTE-eager customers may want to hear, but it for sure, makes more sense than releasing multiple products on a non-existing network.