Telecommunications giant AT&T (NYSE:T, news, filings) is finally putting its LTE buildout plans into action. Today they announced their equipment choices, going with gear from Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE:ALU, news, filings) and Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC, news, filings). These are of course the same companies that provide them with 3G gear, so this move was not exactly an earthquake. By sticking with the same suppliers, they hope to have a smoother upgrade via easier compatibility between their 3G and 4G plants. In fact part of these new contractsincludes additional 3G capacity and enhancements as well to seek a reasonable transition.
One has to wonder though just what AT&T is waiting for – the first question that came to mind when I saw this PR was “They hadn’t chosen YET?” After all, we’ve been wading through several months of 3G iPhone congestion now in which it has become painfully obvious to everyone on the planet that nobody will ever be satisfied with AT&T’s network performance until 4G arrives. But I guess in ILEC-years they are moving pretty quickly, and it will be quite some time yet before there are actually any actual phones that work an LTE network.
In the meantime, AT&T will be depending on upgrades to its 3G network and backhaul capacity, including a move to HSPA 7.2.
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