AT&T Plans To Launch LTE By Mid-2011

The 4G race is definitely heating up. John Stankey, AT&T's operations chief executive recently said his company is in the process of conducting trials of its 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) network in Baltimore and Dallas. He also said the company is on track to launch its LTE network by mid-2011. AT&T plans to cover between 70 million and 75 million POPs by the end of next year.

Given the mid-2011 timeframe, it's possible AT&T could launch its LTE network about the same time a new Apple iPhone is announced. In the past, Apple has announced a new iPhone in June.

AT&T plans to spend $700 million on its LTE network this year. In 2011, Stankey said the company plans to "go far beyond that." In the meantime, AT&T will upgrade its current 3G network by switching over to HSPA+ sometime this year. HSPA+ is said to deliver real-time download speeds of 7Mbps.