AT&T Supports Lumia and HTC Windows Phones

Posted by Sam Churchill on

If I can’t sell it, I’m gonna keep sittin on it. I ain’t gonna give it away.
Ruth Brown

AT&T said today that it plans to carry Nokia’s flagship Lumia 920 Windows Phone 8 handset as well as the mid-range Lumia 820. The additions, alongside HTC’s Windows Phone 8X, mean the nation’s second biggest carrier will offer both of the high profile Windows Phone 8 handsets this holiday season. AT&T says they’ll be available in November.

The Nokia Lumia 920 will be available on AT&T exclusively according to the carrier. Nokia’s Lumia 820 will be available in black only, but AT&T will stock additional colored shells. There’s no word on pricing or exact availability for both models. Both phones will run on AT&T’s 4G LTE network. Nokia has an exclusivity deal with AT&T, with AT&T giving the Lumia line a prominent push and placement in stores, CNET has learned.

Both the Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 run on Qualcomm’s MSM8960 Snapdragon chipset which consists of the 1.5GHz dual-core CPU and Adreno 225 GPU.

The HTC 8x also uses the Qualcomm’s MSM8960 Snapdragon processor. Both the Nokia phones and HTC phones support LTE in the 2.6 GHz band. Qualcomm is adding support for Clearwire’s LTE-TDD network in its multi-mode chipsets.

AT&T will also carry Android (ICE) phones from HTC. The HTC One X+ combines a Tegra 3 processor with Qualcomm’s TD-LTE enabled MDM9215 baseband modem for seamless connectivity between LTE TDD and DC-HSDPA networks. AT&T will also offer the HTC VX — essentially a China Mobile smartphone. It uses the Qualcomm S4 Plus MSM8930 which targets mid-tier smartphones, especially for use in China, supporting UMTS, CDMA, as well as LTE-TDD and TD-SCDMA. AT&T’s HTC XL has a Snapdragon 8960 processor that also supports 2.6 GHz TD-LTE.

AT&T, Sprint and Rogers (in Canada) will also offer a 2600MHz-enabled LG Optimus G, which will be Canada’s first 2600MHz-capable LTE handset.

Do you see a trend?

One might deduce that AT&T is planning to offload their 700 MHz LTE service with both WiFi and Clearwire’s TD-LTE system at 2.6 GHz. AT&T is stocking up on Android and Windows 8 smartphones that have TD-LTE support. They’re using phones with Qualcomm S4 processors or TD-LTE modems that support TD-LTE at 2.6 GHz.

What else can AT&T do — buy Cricket?

Windows Phone 8 will run Windows Phone 7 apps, but it doesn’t work the other way around. Apps in Windows 8 work together to get things done faster. You can get them from the Windows Store.

Windows Phone 8 might be officially “launched” on October 29, a few days after the launch of Windows 8 on October 26, with devices coming a few weeks later.

AT&T and Microsoft could get a lot of “pop” by announcing an unlimited data service on the 2.6 GHz band. These are the phones that could do it.

Microsoft and Barnes & Noble have partnered in NOOK Media, which will bring digital reading to hundreds of millions of customers, according to the press release issued today. But 3Pub’s embedded audio and video will require lots of bandwidth.

A joint venture between Puget Sound-based Microsoft, AT&T Wireless, and Clearwire, could deliver the goods this Spring. Which is not to say that 2.6 GHz is the answer.

Clearwire describes itself as an urban offload solution. Mobility is not its forte.

David Haszledine, Network Economics Manager at DT, says an LTE network in 1800MHz spectrum could be a quarter or a fifth as cheap as the same network in 2.6GHz spectrum. Asked by Mobile Europe how the 2.6 GHz T-Mobile Austria implementation would be different if they had access to 1800MHz spectrum, like their T-Mobile cousin in the UK, Haszeldine said;

“I have to be careful because I have seen cost comparisons of 800MHz, 1800MHz and 2.6GHz LTE that are so secret there are no electronic copies. But I will say that 1800 is cheaper by factors, perhaps by a quarter or a fifth.”

Telekom Austria and Orange are implementing 2.6 GHz LTE using Ericsson gear. In a few months, the UK will finally get around to auctioning the 2.6 GHz band.

Google and Time Warner Cable invested $500 and $550 million in Clearwire in 2008, but exited with $66.5 million and $73.3 million in 2012. Comcast may be next to leave. But ad networks need cheap or free wireless access to get eyeballs. Where are they going to go? Television? Hardly. AT&T may most likely invest $1B in Clear spectrum.

Dish and Clearwire have spectrum. AT&T needs it. Something’s got to give.

Global LTE roaming is available at 2.6 GHz. Near term. While range is limited, it can provide bandwidth for urban “hot zones”. That’s where AT&T is headed.

By 2015, 2.6 GHz microcell hotspots will be ubiquitous – without depending on interference-prone WiFi. And they will be free for non AT&T subscribers — with ads.

Posted by Sam Churchill on Thursday, October 4th, 2012 at 9:28 am .

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