AT&T to add six more LTE cities on Sunday

Also makes Galaxy Tab 8.9 its second LTE tablet

AT&T plans to add six more cities to its 4G LTE network on Nov. 20, bringing the total to 15 cities in the U.S.

AT&T is also adding the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 as its second 4G LTE-ready tablet on the same date. It will cost $480 with a two-year service agreement.

For a limited time, AT&T is also giving Galaxy Tab 8.9 customers a free Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket or Samsung Galaxy S II smartphone. A two-year agreement is required for the free smartphone.

The six new AT&T 4G LTE cities are Charlotte, N.C.; Indianapolis; Kansas City, Mo. and Kansas City, Kans. (counted as one); Las Vegas; Oklahoma City; and San Juan, Puerto Rico. They will join Athens, Ga.; Atlanta; Baltimore; Boston; Chicago; Dallas-Forth Worth; Houston; San Antonio; and Washington, which already have the service.

AT&T rates its LTE as delivering downloads of up to 10 times faster than 3G, which could put downloads at 10 Mbit/sec.

The Galaxy 8.9 has an 8.9-in. screen with 1280-x-800-pixel resolution. It runs Android 3.2 and has a Snapdragon 1.5 GHz dual-core processor. It weighs just under a pound.

Its 1GB of RAM is paired with 16GB of internal storage and an expansion slot that accepts up to an optional 32GB SD card. A 3.2-megapixel rear-facing camera is combined with a 2-megapixel front-facing camera.

For 4G LTE, AT&T charges $35 for a 3GB monthly data plan with a two-year contract, or customers can select from post-paid or pre-paid monthly billing for tablets that are either $14.99 for 250 MB or $25 for 2GB.

AT&T's announcement of the LTE-ready Galaxy Tab 8.9 comes the day before Amazon begins shipping its $199 Wi-Fi-only Kindle Fire tablet. Barnes & Noble is expected to put its new Nook Tablet on sale as early as Wednesday for $249. Both the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet are 7-in. tablets.

AT&T's first LTE-ready tablet was the HTC Jetstream launched on Sept. 4 for $700 with a two-year contract. It runs Android 3.1, has a 10.1-in. touchscreen and a 1.5 GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor.

All told, AT&T has 24 devices that run over LTE.

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 e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

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