AT&T has been saying for months that it would launch its LTE-based wireless network sometime this summer. Now it looks like that the company will indeed make that deadline with just a few days to spare. Fierce Wireless reports that the company will launch its LTE service in five US cities on Sunday, September 18. AT&T has previously announced that the cities that will get LTE service first will be Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. AT&T plans to expand the network to 10 more US cities by the end of 2011.
The launch on Sunday should allow users with LTE compatible devices to have data speeds that are much faster than AT&T's current network. Download speeds have been estimated to be between 5 to 12 Mbps with upload speeds of between 2 and 5 Mbps.
However there are currently only a few devices that can connect to that network. It has already put two laptop connection products, the USB Connect Momentum 4G modem and the Mobile Hotspot Elevate 4G, on sale for $49.99 and $69.99, respectively. In addition the previously released USBConnect Adrenaline laptop device can also connect to the LTE network via a software upgrade. AT&T has also launched the HTC Jetstream Android-based tablet that can connect to the LTE network. It's on sale for $700 with a two year contract or $850 without a contract. AT&T plans to release the first LTE compatible smartphones by the end of 2011.
Verizon Wireless launched its own faster LTE network at the end of 2010 and now it is available in 143 US cities and metro areas with more to come in the future. It has a number of LTE-based smartphones, laptop connect devices and tablets available for sale.