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AT&T Lights Up LTE-Advanced Network in Several Markets, Galaxy S5 to be First to Utilize It

According to a report out of GigaOm, AT&T has gone live with LTE-Advanced in several markets, making them the first major U.S. carrier to offer what could be an incredible 4G wireless experience. AT&T isn’t ready yet to make this news into a marketing campaign, though, since no current devices can even take advantage of the network technology outside a hotspot unit. That will likely change once the Samsung Galaxy S5 arrives in April. 

AT&T has at least fired up the new LTE-A service in Chicago, but wouldn’t yet confirm where else they have gone live. GigaOm surmises that the other markets could include Baltimore, Dallas, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and D.C., all of which are undergoing 2G/3G to LTE transformations.

To create an LTE-A network, they are using a technique called “carrier aggregation” that brings together two 4G networks (bands 700MHz and 2100MHz in their case) to allow customers to experience massive download speeds. We’re talking theoretical speeds of 110Mbps. You may see better performance or speeds from Verizon and T-Mobile’s LTE-A networks (whenever those go live too), but I can’t imagine AT&T customers will complain.

The Galaxy S5 can support carrier aggregation, so once it launches in April, owners of the device may be the first to take advantage of AT&T’s new network. In other words, if you live in one of those previously named markets, and buy the GS5, you’ll have bragging rights for months, sort of like many of us did when Verizon rolled out LTE to the country.

Ready for next-gen LTE?

Via:  GigaOm
Cheers Santos!
  • Dan Lodi

    My Verizon lte tablet takes advantage of Verizon’s new aws spectrum I get 80 megs where I live AT&T gets 5 megs and sprint and t mobile forget about it

  • emcdonald75

    I am curious. Since AT&T gave up some of their AWS spectrum to T-Mobile with the failed bid, they do not have AWS spectrum nationwide. Will AT&T also use their PCS spectrum (1900MHz) with their 700MHz B+C block spectrum for carrier aggregation also?

  • p29

    I remember 3 years ago when the first AT&T LTE network launched in fall 2011 and it was on the same day as the Galaxy SII Skyrocket launch in North America. Months after the European S2 but the Skyrocket was more beefed up and it was LTE. So LONG ago. The S5 is the new Skyrocket, in a way.

  • Derek Mounce

    If anyone wants to join Sprint my framily ID# is B00690276kM (capital B zero zero 69 zero 276 lowercase k capital M) last 4 digits of number is 0192 join me and get service for as cheap as $25 $20 more gets u unlimited data plus having service for 31 days receive a $200 visa card for porting your number over

  • Ana Peralta

    Check out my Ookla Speedtest result. What’s your speed? http://www.speedtest.net/my-result/a/757038806

  • PoisonApple31

    I’d really like to see a post about Verizon’s current situation. Many people are confused because they have seen speed increases on AWS and think this is LTE-Advanced. 🙁

  • Tom Z

    If it’s anything like what Verizon is updating into, you’re in for a treat… I get consistent speeds of over 45 down with my Moto X on the new lte band…

  • Rand Paul 2016

    Sounds just like Sprints “Spark” thing.

  • Adam Anderson

    Unless I’m mistaking, the Note 3 is an LTE-A capable phone too. That would make it the first phone to utilize it. Actually, the first phone to utilize it will be the first one with the capability that is activated on that network (technically). 🙂

    • BulletTooth_Tony

      It appears in the Engineering Mode… But I’d be willing to wager it is disabled at present. If that’s what you’re driving at.

  • teeerex

    haha I’ve had LTE advanced on my Galaxy S4 since last month. I’m getting between 40 to as high as 60 mbps down and 10 to 15 + up. The Galaxy S4 is capable of LTE advanced speeds as they have the radio that can take advantage of it. Of course if you aren’t like me and still get unlimited data, the speeds are nice but you will want to be careful on what you use it on 😉

    • Bryce

      Not true. I noticed that you said you’re on Verizon. What you are likely experiencing is their AWS 20×20 network which has too speeds of 150Mbps.

      • teeerex

        Yeah not 100% sure on that cause as far as I know there’s 4g which I had and LTE advanced. Also true LTE isn’t going to get speeds that high only around what I’m seeing now which is double and triple what I had before. Plus I have friends who’s phones aren’t capable of advanced LTE speeds and they’re only getting 10-20Mbps down and 5 to 8 up and they’re on Verizon

  • chris125
  • chris125

    Dont the note 3 and g2 have LTE a capabilities??

  • greennick98

    To be fair, verizons aws can actually support higher speeds, it already Max’s out all the cat 3 UE on the market in NYC. And I thought sprints spark was actually the first LTE advanced network, as it uses the same stratagey… Idek, so many carriers claiming first to something. Verizon is always the safe bet though, especially with their spectrum advantage.

    • Bryce

      Technically AT&T is the first to aggregate carriers in the U.S.

      Sprint will be aggregating spectrum in Band 41 later this year to provide top speeds above Verizon. A 40MHz TDD-LTE carrier in a 3:2 downlink:uplink ratio has a too speed of 168Mbps on the download side.

  • s0uth

    Lucky for the people in the area and with unlimited….

    • evrop

      Unlimited data doesn’t exist. Then its very throttled 2G. Sigh. So many people still get this wrong after so many years.

  • Drew

    There is no way S5 is the first device to utilize LTE-A. The Moto X did it first and the Nexus 5 was the second device. I love my Moto X. Best device for everybody.

    • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

      I’m pretty sure that’s not true.

    • Rai Diaz

      Uh, no. The Moto X and Nexus 5 dont support LTE-A

      • Tim242

        He’s reverse trolling.

    • MicroNix

      Well played…

    • teeerex

      Not true Drew..the Galaxy S4 was the first and I’ve had it since it came out last May. I just recently started getting 40 to 60 mbps down to 10-15+ up. I have friends who have other 4G devices who are getting only half of what I get if that.

      • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

        -_- At&t just rolled it out in one city. I’m pretty sure that’s not what you were experiencing

    • tlds

      I think the Nexus 5 supports the bands of LTE-A so I guess it is possible with a upgrade or maybe a new sim-card… I asked the question to at&t support on twitter but I haven’t been answered.

  • This isn’t really LTE-Advanced. It’s just your typical LTE, only using carrier-aggregation (an LTE Advanced technique) to combine 700MHz and AWS spectrum to create a 15MHz channel. Verizon’s AWS LTE network is actually faster in most cases as it uses 20x20MHz channels of AWS spectrum with a theoretical max speed of 150Mbps

    • John Davids

      I applaud you for your accuracy and articulation skills. I abhor you for your choice in colleges, so I guess we are even? 🙂

      (Don’t mind me, I am just cranky about the woodshed beating that Sparty is about to unleash on my Hawkeyes tonight…)

      • #B1G

        • RAZR_FANN

          Go Blue though. #B1GChamps

          • d-rock

            Go Big Blue!

    • Alex Boro

      I don’t know if this guy is right, but he seems legit.

    • S. Ali

      Not only this, but Sprint has been doing carrier aggregation with Sprint Spark for months.

      • GinaDee

        But Sprint isn’t impressing anyone right now with or w/o Spark. Don’t get me started framily

        • Hate the bust your little bubble, but Sprint has the fastest network and most spectrum that will annihilate competition. We are talking about monster 60×60 channels. Nokia and Sprint just launched an LTE-A Network in Kansas City capable of 2.6 gbps. Not sure what’s not impressive about that. However, I can say it will take a year or two for the devices to utilize 4×4 mimo and carrier aggregation to get those speeds. This is a case where the network is faster then what the consumer equipment can handle.

          • GinaDee

            Sprint’s had lots of spectrum for a long time. It’s not their assets that are bad it’s their execution.

            They let little ol’ T-Mobile run circles around them last year despite having a rich yet debt ridden sugar daddy and announced delay after delay of NV.

            Start busting bubbles when Sprint actually matters.

    • GinaDee

      That’s incorrect. Carrier Aggregation is one of many facets of LTE-A. VoLTE will be another.

      • T-Mobile and Verizon have already both hit over 100mbps with AWS, your out of the loop.

        • GinaDee

          That’s great for them but I’m not sure why that matters to AT&T users or to you for that matter?

          Take 5 steps to the left or right with your T-Mobile phone and watch your phone’s signal drop to EDGE or No Service.

          Verizon has a great network but it doesn’t matter to those who are still getting 2 Mbps or slower over LTE here in Southern California.

        • d-rock

          AT&T still ranks highest overall in speed, so hitting is not maintaining I guess.

    • Yeahok

      The technique itself Is LTE advanced, (it’s how you get to 1GB down) AT&T just dosent the broad swaths of spectrum to deploy 20×20 like Verizon yet. However, AT&T has more spectrum overall compared to Verizon, with less customers and probably less traffic (especially using lte) . So even though it may take them longer, they may not need a channels that big to deliver something similar to Verizon’s experience. So yeah it’s definitely LTE advanced, just not as massive a channel yet

  • silver_arrow

    Wow in Canada they do carrier aggregation with 1700 and 2600mhz with max speeds of 150mbps

    • jack584

      And in the United Stares, Verizon is able to get max speeds of 150 Mbps without carrier aggregation because they have large 20×20 blocks of spectrum that few carriers in the United States have. This makes Verizon’s network superior because they do not have to combine frequencies to get those crazy fast speeds.

  • Mike Aurin

    Didn’t Droid Life report that the US variants of the S4 (namely Verizon) were LTA-A ready?

    • teeerex

      Yep and I am living proof of that..I recently noticed the speed of my phone increase about a month or so ago. I tested the speed and I’m getting anywhere between 40 and 60 mbps down to 10 to 15 mbps + on up!! I was not even close to that at the beginning of the year. I was getting around 15 to 20 or so down and around 10 up

  • Yay, now people can burn through their data caps in seconds instead of minutes!

  • Disqus_n00b

    With data caps, who cares?

    • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

      it definitely matters. if it didn’t everyone would be satisfied with Sprint’s “Unlimited” Slow Ass Data.

      • The Narrator

        Yeah, we care it’s fast, but we actually don’t care to use it because there’s caps. Thank god for WiFi

        • malcmilli

          so you just never use your mobile data ever because you have a 2/3 gb cap?

        • 4g63mark

          I rarely get WiFi where I go. And even when I do, my Verizon LTE speeds are faster than the WiFi……. I’ll just stick with unlimited LTE on Verizon…… Life is good on a Developer Edition Moto X running on Verizon. At least on the central coast of California it is

          • d-rock

            Verizon will cap it one day. and they can. They can say at 5GB, you get slowed down! Be ready for it because it’s coming!

          • 4g63mark

            Your probably right. But until then I like the spot I’m in now…… Plus don’t be surprised to see carriers go back to offering unlimited data. If you look at the media consumption and the rapid rate it continues to grow, it’s only a matter of time till it happens. I was told just recently by my girlfriend that her Apple laptop was the last model sold with a CD/DVD drive. When i asked why she said it’s because most movies are consumed through streaming media services. I’m not sure she’s accurate on that because I haven’t investigated the subject myself. But it doesn’t sound so far fetched…….. When unlimited returns it will likely be priced outrageously

      • Ana Peralta

        Check out my Ookla Speedtest result. What’s your speed? http://www.speedtest.net/my-result/a/757038806

        I am happy with Sprint , great speeds with unlimited data, i have 5 lines and we use close to 80 GB every month.

    • ImmaDroid

      3 Speedtests and someone on a 2GB plan will be out of data..

      • Christen Lawson

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        ◆◆◆ ◆䷚◆◆ ◆◆◆ ◆◆�◆ ◆◆◆Verizon’s AWS LTE network is actually faster in most cases as it uses 20x20MHz channels of AWS spectrum with a theoretical max speed of 150Mbps

      • AndroidUser00110001

        Umm…just because you have faster speeds does not mean what your are downloading increases in size. If you download 100 megs at 2g speed or at LTE-A speed it is still 100 megs…

        • ImmaDroid

          If you download a 100MB video, over regular LTE or the new LTE-A no it doesnt matter, because it’ll be the same 100MB file. .. But I said Speedtest!! You do a Speedtest now in a 15MBPS area, it’ll use maybe 30MB. But when I do a Speedtest on 4G LTE, I get around 60-70MBPS by me, and it uses close to 100MB’s of data. Do a speedtest at 150mbps, and you’re looking at about 200MB’s of data being used. Makes a big difference in this case.

          • michael arazan

            110 Mbps is a little 13 MB, 8 Mbps = 1MB

  • besweeet

    Wouldn’t LTE-A use even more battery life?

    • greennick98

      Maybe? But once volte goes live, you’ll actually save battery.

      • chris125

        Except they showed that volte got worse battery life than current LTE. So looks like it will be LTE gen 1 all over again with bad battery life. Hopefully it gets better before it is officially launched

        • flosserelli

          I just had a flashback of my HTC Thunderbolt days *shudders*

          • chris125

            that was such a rough experience.