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AT&T's LTE phone by year-end will be thin and efficient, but won't be roaming on other LTE networks

Posted: , by Daniel P.

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AT&T's LTE phone by year-end will be thin and efficient, but won't be roaming on other LTE networks
AT&T CEO Ralph de la Vega said at CTIA that the carrier has been waiting for the LTE modules to allow slim and light devices with better battery lives than the first generation, and AT&T's LTE phones coming in Q4 will be the first with a tech abbreviated as CSFB.

Indeed, it is not until now that Qualcomm and other LTE radio manufacturers are putting into phones their second attempts with slimmer baseband modules that have much less footprint and suck less battery juice than the clunky first generation found in handsets like the HTC Thunderbolt, for example.

HTC Holiday on AT&T's LTE network

HTC Holiday on AT&T's LTE network

Apparently that is why AT&T was only offering standalone LTE modems at first, but it has officially confirmed that we will have at least one LTE smartphone appearing on its network by the end of the year. It is already a common asumption that this handset will be the HTC Holiday, which was recently caught downloading stuff with 30Mbps from AT&T's ether in Texas.

About 70 million people in major US cities will be covered with LTE by AT&T this year, and the complete rollout is expected to finish in 2013. The nice part about AT&T's LTE phones will be that they will use a technology called Circuit Switch Fallback (CSFB), which basically means that one you go outside LTE coverage, your phone will continue on HSPA+ speeds, which are way faster than what Verizon's 3G EV-DO network can offer.

In addition, AT&T comments that it is commited to deploy comprehensive voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) solutions further down the road, while it builds its 4G network, which likely means the first phones won't have it. When asked about the pricing scheme, the carrier statement read that they are not commenting on upcoming pricing. As far as the most pressing question - whether AT&T LTE phones will be able to roam on other such networks like Verizon's or the one of MetroPCS, the comment is:

It’s too soon to speculate on that. There are many technical challenges that must be addressed, due to the many different spectrum bands that carriers around the world are using to deploy 4G LTE.


So for now we can assume having an LTE phone from AT&T like the eventual HTC Holiday will be somewhat restrictive in terms of network coverage and VoLTE, while AT&T widens it coverage, but you can count on the CSFB tech to fill in with HSPA+ download speeds, which are nothing to sniff at in case AT&T has good signal at your whereabouts.

source: CNET & PCMag

15 Comments
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posted on 12 Oct 2011, 08:59 1

1. simplyj (Posts: 404; Member since: 23 Dec 2009)


I like how Sprint is going to start in 2012 and be done in 2013, while ATT started this year, and will finish in 2013.

posted on 12 Oct 2011, 09:48 2

5. Forsaken77 (Posts: 546; Member since: 09 Jun 2011)


Most likely because AT&T is planning to cover 90% of the population and Sprint is not. AT&T's network is more than double the size of Sprint, so naturally it's gonna take longer.

posted on 12 Oct 2011, 10:22

7. kshell1 (Posts: 1143; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)


actualy att plans to cover around 70 mil americans as said in article while sprint plans to cover around 250 mil americans.

posted on 12 Oct 2011, 10:35 1

8. nacho (unregistered)


I don't think Sprint even covers 250 million Americans now...

posted on 12 Oct 2011, 11:11 1

10. dave (unregistered)


actually at&t plans to cover 70 million Americans by the end of this year. then will expand to the rest of the country by 2013.

posted on 12 Oct 2011, 09:01 3

2. snowgator (Posts: 3188; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)


Okay, I will believe this rollout from AT&T when I see it. I just finally got 3-freaking G from them on October 2nd. Throw in the nightmare they will have combining with T-Mobile, and this is very suspect. Even though I love WP, I am leaning to Verizon even though there is no real choice in WP devices just due to believing their goal of not only LTE, but LTE + by 2014. AT&T just hasn't earned that amount of trust with me.

posted on 12 Oct 2011, 09:16 3

3. roldefol (Posts: 2858; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)


It's easy for AT&T to point at Verizon's LTE phones as chunky and battery-hungry, but at least Verizon got a real 4G network out there. By the time AT&T gets theirs going, Verizon will be on its second generation of LTE phones and will match their claims.

posted on 12 Oct 2011, 09:29 2

4. NerdyGuy (unregistered)


Ok, that is great. Now announce the HTC Raider/Holiday already! I have been sititng on my upgrade for 4 months waiting for this phone!

posted on 12 Oct 2011, 12:09 2

13. TechAddict (Posts: 7; Member since: 01 Sep 2011)


Same here! I've been waiting for this phone for what seems like forever and I was totally expecting them to reveal it at CTIA!

posted on 12 Oct 2011, 10:00 3

6. AnnDroid (Posts: 52; Member since: 02 Aug 2011)


AT&T: Remove your stupid caps and I'll be impressed.

posted on 12 Oct 2011, 11:03 3

9. InspectorGadget80 (Posts: 6141; Member since: 26 Mar 2011)


Man now I really feel like leaving AT&T to Verizon. Their so slow not launching their LTE towers. Now they say you can use you're LTE phone to roam off others. Think they should replace their CEO with someone different. Guess it will be another 5yrs till AT&T launch their LTE service so i will stick with my crappy H+ phone

posted on 12 Oct 2011, 11:34 1

11. tania123 (unregistered)


Well I don't care what anyone says I will be sticking with at&t because I need GSM period because I go to europe a lot . And since verizon doesn't offer an Lte Phone witb gsm capabilities I will be sticking with at&t. People told me to give t-mobile a try cuz they gsm too, man did I regret it. Crappy reception inside buildings, crappy coverage I hated t-mobile and I had serveral different phones from them so it obviously wasn't the phones it was there service. And its not like I live in the middle of nowhere I live in the heart of LOS angeles, right in the city. Also did I mention no reception inside elevators, high rise buildings underground parking lots on t-mobile? Yea I kno t-mobile has wifi callin but if u live in a big city like me many highrise buildings downtown were t-mobile usually craps out have wifi but its locked so ur screwed either way. And with at&t u don't need wifi calling because they actually get signal all the way deep inside the buildin hate it or love it its the truth. I got an samsung galxy s2 on at&t and I'm loving it cuz I can now make calls in allthose places I mentioned above were t-mobile always crapped out I noticed the s2 has a very strong antenna even I have been shocked that in all those places I mentioed above I'm gettng 2-4 bars . Obviously it would be better if this phone was LTE capable but o well I'm good with hspa+ right now.

posted on 12 Oct 2011, 11:47 1

12. kshell1 (Posts: 1143; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)


their is one lte phone that verizon has that has gsm aka world capabilities to my knowledge and that would be the bionic although i am not sure. sprint also offers the motorola photon which has gsm/cdma capabilities classifying it as a world phone

posted on 12 Oct 2011, 18:54 1

14. corporateJP (Posts: 1520; Member since: 28 Nov 2009)


Nice excuses, Ralph.

posted on 12 Oct 2011, 20:35

15. Jyakotu (Posts: 814; Member since: 12 Dec 2008)


I'm a huge AT&T supporter because I've had nothing but great service from them when I was with them. Switching to Sprint is a HUGE difference in service where in my house, I average 1-2 bars. Sprint might have unlimited data, but my phone is always on Wi-Fi because it's way faster than Sprint's 3G network. AT&T might have capped data plans, but their Wi-Fi network is so large that I could easily find Wi-Fi for my device and wouldn't even get close to 2 GB of data. Kudos to AT&T for beginning their LTE roll out and I love that their LTE phones will revert to HSPA+ when not in an LTE coverage area. I'll be watching AT&T. ;)

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