AT&T teases July 16 announcement about 'what's next in wireless'

Could plan to tout LTE-Advanced or other network technologies

AT&T is planning a July 16 announcement to divulge "what's next in wireless," which could be news regarding a rollout of faster LTE-Advanced network technology or other innovations.

AT&T promoted the coming announcement today in the form of a teaser email to reporters. An AT&T spokeswoman refused to divulge anything about the announcement, but did say it is not an event being held in a city, like some recent smartphone launches.

In recent weeks, Computerworld has asked AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel repeatedly in emails about the carrier's plans for LTE-Advanced and received no response.

The company's silence and other insights have led some analysts to suggest AT&T is about to launch its LTE-Advanced capabilities, with a fuller rollout coming in 2014.

LTE-Advanced usually doubles download speeds of LTE by using a variety of network technologies in conjunction with LTE-Advanced-ready smartphones and other devices.

Carriers are rolling out LTE in the U.S., with Verizon leading the way with more than 500 cities and AT&T with about 300 cities.

Verizon pegs its LTE downloads on average at 5Mbps to 12Mbps, although AT&T has bragged of higher average speeds with some exceptions, citing various independent tests. The teaser sent to reporters mentions those tests and other performance metrics.

Roger Entner, an analyst at Recon Analytics, said on June 28 that AT&T is moving faster than Verizon Wireless, Sprint and other carriers on LTE-Advanced and could implement the technology in 2014.

Other analysts have said that AT&T may be planning to announce its plans for Voice over LTE (VoLTE), if any, given Verizon's recent plans to roll out that capability nationwide next year.

Qualcomm has recently publicized its Snapdragon 800 chip, which supports an LTE-Advanced technique called carrier aggregation to allow phones to use two or more radio channels combined to communicate, more than doubling network speeds. Today, phones primarily rely on a single radio channel.

The 800 chip runs in a special Samsung Galaxy S4 for LTE-Advanced that's being rolled out to carriers in South Korea. That technology could conceivably be used by AT&T or others in the U.S.

Qualcomm has also confirmed the next-generation LG Optimus G, being called the G2, will run with the 800 chip. LG is holding an Aug. 7 event in New York where the G2 is expected to be unveiled.

This article, AT&T teases July 16 announcement about 'whats next in wireless', was originally published at Computerworld.com.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at  @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

See more by Matt Hamblen on Computerworld.com.

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