Several news sources have recently reported that AT&T has finally signed the papers authorizing Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson to get cracking on the infrastructure necessary for the transition to LTE (4G). That’s not very big news… but it could be tremendous for those of us who have had continuous issues with the AT&T network since the introduction of the iPhone. We’re still very adamant that any network would have terrible service with the massive amount of extra data iPhone users eat through on a daily basis, but 4G could be awesome.
Don’t get too excited yet, the 4G rollout will take quite some time. They’ll be doing trial runs later this year, much like Sprint’s Chicago introduction: most people won’t have access to the 4G network during the trials and possibly far into 2011… and even that could be limited depending on your market. Cocoa Touch Apps is based near downtown Denver, so we’d expect to see the 4G network here sooner rather than later — especially since we have a major Alcatel-Lucent office 20 minutes from here.
We also need to realize that the introduction of 4G doesn’t mean awesome service: 4G phones will theoretically have the ability to rollback to 3G or even EDGE if service sucks in your location. Considering the fact that it’s taken AT&T 3 or 4 years to get their 3G network reliable (in most cities), we’re not holding our breath on the 4G network quite yet. The 140-300Mbps transfer rates look pretty stellar, but we’re all waiting to see what we can realistically expect from the service. Considering the best download speed offered by Comcast — in the Denver area — is somewhere around 18Mbps, we’d really be surprised if our phones started offering us better browsing speeds than our desktops.
Hopefully we’ll see a smoother transition to 4G after the 3G debacle. We’re pretty sure that the 140-300Mbps speeds will last us a little longer than the 7.2Mbps we’re supposedly getting on 3G. Wouldn’t it make sense to throw a great majority of your effort at a standard that will offer us a substantially better lifetime than it’s predecessor? We thought so.