All the big wireless carriers are gearing up for the transition to 4G networks, which promise significantly faster data rates than the current 3G offerings. AT&T has hopped on board with a pair of equipment providers now signed up to provide the gear for its LTE network.
Enterprise Mobile Today takes a look at AT&T’s roadmap, and why the company expects the upgrade to be a smooth process.
All of the major wireless vendors are making their move to next-generation cellular networking technology, known as 4G. AT&T, the second-largest provider, is gearing up for the next big thing with the announcement that it has reached agreements with the equipment providers for its 4G network.
While both 3G and 4G both use similar frequency bands and the same bandwidth, the big difference is the data rates. While 3G is good for up to 2 Mbps, 4G starts at 100 Mbps and is moving toward 1 Gbps. That should keep iPhone users happy as they sponge up all the bandwidth on a network.
Verizon Wireless, which is jointly owned by Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) and Vodafone, AT&T Wireless, a subsidiary of AT&T (NYSE: T) and T-Mobile, the mobile arm of Deutche Telekom, have all committed to the Long-Term Evolution standard, or LTE. Sprint Nextel has cast its lot with WiMAX, but reportedly has looked at LTE as well.
Sprint and Verizon are already building out their 4G networks, but on Wednesday, AT&T got the ball rolling with the announcement that Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson will be the equipment suppliers for its 4G network. Those two firms were the providers of its 3G network as well, and are also Verizon’s partners.
By sticking with Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson, AT&T has cleared a path for an easy upgrade. The 3G equipment already in place from Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson will be easily upgradeable to LTE. Mostly, it’s just a software upgrade but some new equipment will also be required to make 3G networking gear fully 4G-ready.