Ahead of an official launch, glimmers of LTE coverage from AT&T have begun to appear in Chicago, USA, according to reports. The second largest carrier in the US behind Verizon Wireless, had said that its LTE network would go live in the summer, but as September approaches, it has still not officially launched.
Gadget blogs BGR and This is My Next have reported though that is possible to connect to an AT&T LTE service in Chicago using the terminal devices that AT&T released earlier his month, the Momentum 4G dongle and the Mobile Hotspot Elevate 4G.
It is very much a soft launch at this stage with only one bar of coverage reportedly available. According to BGR this delivered a download speed of around 13Mbps and an upload speed of 2Mbps, similar to the real world speeds available on Verizon Wireless. As these are unloaded network speeds it is unclear if performance will drop once users begin to come onto the network, but this is likely to be mitigated by stronger coverage at more cells come online.
It is also rumoured that the Samsung Impulse 4G will be the first LTE enabled smartphone to appear in the network, while the tablet market will be covered by the HTC Jetstream, a 10in screened device with an LTE chipset built-in.
The FCC, the US telecoms regulator, is continuing to review a proposed merger between AT&T and the US arm of T-Mobile, owned by German operator Deutsche Telecom.