AT&T, which plans to launch its 4G LTE network this summer in five cities and in 15 cities by year’s end, with a laptop card called the USBConnect Momentum 4G and a mobile hot-spot device called the Elevate 4G for its upcoming 700 MHz LTE network. No phones yet. The two products will be on display at an annual company showcase later today.
The Momentum laptop card will sell for $49.99 with a two-year contract. It has a slot for a MicroSD card that can hold up to 32GB of data. Elevate 4G hot-spot device will cost $69.99 with a two-year contract. It has a color 1.77-inch LCD display that shows the Wi-Fi network name and security key. It can be used for up to five hours and connect up to five devices. Like the Momentum, it has a slot to allow for a 32GB memory card.
AT&T is playing catch up to Verizon and Sprint Nextel in the 4G game. Both have true “4G” phones, using LTE and WiMAX, respectively.
In January, AT&T followed T-Mobile USA’s footsteps and rebranded their 3G HSPA+ network, with the 4G title. T-Mobile generally offers faster speed on their HSPA+ network, however, because they gang two AWS band channels together.
AT&T currently has three smartphones that support HSPA+: the HTC Inspire, Motorola Atrix, and Samsung Infuse. AT&T will also be the exclusive carrier of the dual-screen Sony S2, which will run on its HSPA+ network and feature connection to Sony’s online services, including PlayStation content.
Next year Verizon plans to deliver voice calls over LTE, using Voice over LTE (VoLTE) for video chatting and Skype. Currently, only the LG Revolution supports VoLTE. Unfortunately, while a VoLGA solution supports seamless call handover to/from the existing GSM/3G networks, it doesn’t support voice fallback on Verizon’s CDMA network. It also appears that there will be no handover between the LTE networks run by AT&T and Verizon, even though they use the same basic technology.
Sprint’s Nexus S 4G ($99) from Samsung is the WiMAX version of the official “Google Phone,” and comes with Android 2.3 Gingerbread, NFC and supports Google Offers and Google Wallet. Other Sprint WiMAX phones include the Motorola PHOTON 4G ($199) with a 1GHz dual-core processor, HTC EVO View 4G with a 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon and HTC EVO 3D with a 4.3 inch 3D display.
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