What This Means for Customers of AT&T
With AT&T launching its LTE network in 2011, customers of the carrier will be able to take advantage of both the speeds of LTE and that of HSPA+.
The downsides to this are of course phones and coverage. As with the other mobile carriers, 4G is still growing, so while many areas offer 4G networks, many areas don't. This is a major issue, especially with those users who end up buying phones that are capable of 4G speeds, but are unable to use them due to lack of coverage.
There is also the added monthly price for a data plan, something that is required for using 4G coverage, plus a customer must be using a 4G enabled cell or smartphone in order to enjoy the benefits of the technology. AT&T has introduced a line of 4G smartphones, such as the Motorola Atrix, the HTC Inspire and the Samsung Infuse.
Luckily, as the network itself grows, those users who have 4G capable phones are still able to use the widely known 3G networks, while awaiting for 4G to build within their city or state. The AT&T 4G network is still slightly behind that of its competitors, however with the upgrade to that of LTE, the company may be on par with the other carriers. It is not yet known whether having the two layers of 4G coverage will help or hinder AT&T customers, but the possibilities are there.