AT&T said today it plans to launch its 4G LTE network in six new markets by November 20 as it races to catch up to Verizon Wireless.
AT&T will turn its 4G network on in Charlotte, N.C., Indianapolis, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Oklahoma City, and San Juan, Puerto Rico. In total, it will have 15 markets covered by the end of this month.
With 4G quickly becoming a competitive advantage, the carriers are scrambling to roll out the next-generation networks, which bring a much faster connection speed. Having arrived to the party late, AT&T is doing its best to make up ground by introducing new markets and new 4G LTE products.
AT&T caught some flack with tech enthusiasts earlier this year when it opted to embrace the 4G moniker for its HSPA+ network, which it previously called 3G. Unlike Verizon Wireless, which began its 4G LTE network rollout last year, AT&T opted to rely on its HSPA+ network, which it argued would provide for a more smooth transition to LTE.
Now, AT&T is working to deploy 4G LTE on top of its HPSA+ network. There's still a large gap between AT&T and Verizon, which has covered 165 cities with its own 4G LTE network. For the carriers, 4G has become as important a marketing tool as carrying Apple's iPhone.
Even Sprint is getting into the game. It has long relied on Clearwire for its 4G WiMax network, but earlier this year said it plans to roll out its own 4G LTE network in the second half of next year.
While the network reach isn't there yet, AT&T has worked to get more devices in the market. The company said today that the Samsung Electronics Galaxy Tab 8.9 for AT&T will have LTE capabilities. The company has 24 4G devices in the market, exceeding its goal of having 20 by the end of the year. The devices, however, include HSPA+ technology that is more liked a souped-up 3G service.
AT&T offers a contract plan of $35 for 3 gigabytes of data each month. For customers who don't sign a contract, there is a rate of $14.99 for 250 megabytes of data and $25 for 2 gigabytes.
Sprint unveiled today lower-cost data plans that undercut AT&T and Verizon.
Still, those plans are for 3G and 4G WiMax. AT&T's plans run on its faster and newer LTE network.