updated 02:55 pm EDT, Thu May 19, 2011
ATT LTE tests prove speed up to spec
A rare visit to AT&T's Foundry office has given one of the first public-facing tests of its upcoming LTE network. An example on AT&T's admittedly quiet connection at the Plano, Texas location showed download speeds of 28.87Mbps downstream and 10.4Mbps upstream. An iPhone 4, whose 3G modem caps it at 7.2Mbps peak, got 3.77Mbps down and 1.21Mbps up in the same GigaOM test.
The test didn't necessarily reflect conditions for every device or network. At the Foundry, the company was using a MIMO (multiple in, multiple out) antenna system and both the 700MHz and AWS (1,700MHz) spectrum it has. Conditions are also likely to slow down in full commercial use once towers have to share resources. Verizon's network has shown similar performance, though, as Electronista and others saw identical behavior when testing LTE Verizon phones.
Verizon promises 5-12Mbps downstream on a loaded tower but is believed to be using that speed partly as a way of buffering itself in very busy areas.
AT&T didn't confirm rumors of a June 30 launch date for LTE. Most early devices on the network will be modems and routers, but it should have the HTC Puccini tablet shortly into the network expansion. Phones may come late in the year and might not see an LTE iPhone until mid-2012.