AT&T promises LTE downlink speeds of 5-12 Mbps

AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) said its LTE network will deliver average downlink speeds of 5-12 Mbps and uplink speeds of 2-5 Mbps, speeds virtually identical to those advertised by Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) for its more extensive LTE footprint.

AT&T LTE speeds

Click here for the details of Signals Research Group's speed tests.

Kris Rinne, AT&T's senior vice president for network architecture and planning, confirmed the speeds to the AP. They are consistent with comments AT&T executives made earlier in the year about how AT&T's network will perform similar to Verizon's.

On Sunday, AT&T launched LTE service in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. The company expects to deploy LTE across 70 million POPs in 15 markets by year-end.

Although AT&T promised speeds similar to Verizon's, third-party tests on the network have shown speeds that far exceed the promised range. Research firm Signals Research Group tested 88.8 GB of data transfers for three days in Houston using a Sierra Wireless USBConnect Momentum 4G modem.

"The average downlink Physical Layer throughput was 23.6 Mbps with a peak data rate of 61.1Mbps," the research firm said in a report. "Both results meaningfully exceeded our expectations. The data rate also exceeded 40Mbps for 8.6 percent of the time and 21Mbps--the theoretical peak data rate of the operator's HSPA+ network--for 38.2 percent of the time. Most importantly, the data rate was greater than 5 Mbps for 95 percent of the time."

Tests conducted by PC Magazine using the same modem in Houston found average downlink speeds of 21.8 Mbps.

While the speeds are fast, it's worth noting AT&T's LTE network is largely free of user traffic and speeds could slow as more users purchase and use LTE devices.

Verizon, which first launched LTE service in December 2010, said its LTE network now covers more than 160 million POPs, which is more than half of the U.S. population. The network is available in 143 markets, and Verizon expects to cover 175 markets and 185 million POPs with LTE by year-end.

For more:
- see this AP article
- see this CNET article
- see this PC Magazine article

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