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‘We’re faster’, AT&T’s Stephenson tells GTB

02 December 2010

CEO Randall Stephenson says AT&T will back up LTE network in US with 3G network that’s faster than Verizon’s

Read more: AT&T Verizon Verizon Wireless LTE 4G 3G HSPA broadband wireless

AT&T chief Randall Stephenson has responded to Verizon Wireless’s plans to launch LTE by starting a 4G speed war in an interview with Global Telecoms Business.
In an exclusive interview with GTB, Stephenson says AT&T will cover 70 million people across the US by the end of 2011 — and has a significant advantage over Verizon Wireless, because AT&T already has a fast 3G network that will provide a broadband wireless service outside the 4G LTE coverage area.
"The one thing you have to avoid is for customers on a six to seven meg [LTE] experience to fall back to something sub-meg," Stephenson told GTB. "It’s very important to have a 3G layer with the 4G on top. The beauty of this is the handsets are forwards and backwards compatible."
AT&T has upgraded it 3G network to HSPA running at 7.2 megabits, said Stephenson, "and we’re now on path to have HSPA+ largely deployed throughout the country by the end of this year". This will run at up to 20 megabits. Verizon Wireless’s 3G network, which runs on the Qualcomm EV-DO standard, is slower than HSPA, he said.
Stephenson admitted that Verizon Wireless "has been very aggressive" with its LTE plans. "But we have a very elegant path, just working the [HSPA] speed up and up while you’re working to get the LTE ramped, and then you step off to LTE."
GTB will publish the full interview with Stephenson online on on December 8 2010 and in the next print issue of the magazine. GTB

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