updated 04:00 pm EDT, Wed October 1, 2008
ATT Says 3G Lasts 2-3 Yrs
Those expecting AT&T to make a quick transition to 4G are likely to be disappointed, AT&T's Architecture VP Hank Kafka said yesterday at the 4G Executive Summit. The executive says there is no immediate urge to transition to the Long Term Evolution standard, as the company's current HSPA and upcoming 20Mbps HSPA+ 3G networks should provide good coverage for the next two to three years by building on top of an existing legacy network rather than reworking service from the ground up.
LTE's speeds, which in separate tests have run as high as 170Mbps, are still coming to AT&T but are less of a priority. The advanced network should be "significantly available" to a large portion of AT&T's subscriber base no more than five years from now, Kafka says.
He also downplays this week's launch of Sprint's Xohm service and its WiMAX roots. The technology has a shorter range than 3G and so is less expensive to run than WiMAX, as more sparsely populated areas can be covered by fewer towers.
Sprint's service is also potentially slower than HSPA+, as the carrier estimates peak Xohm speeds at 10Mbps and real-world conditions between 2Mbps and 4Mbps. AT&T hasn't yet estimated the practical speeds for its HSPA+ deployment.