Galaxy S5 could be the first phone on the carrier to support the new network

The mobile network space is an ever-changing landscape, and AT&T is trying to keep up with the crowd by officially launching LTE-Advanced in at least one U.S. market. According to an interview with GigaOM, AT&T said it has officially launched a new LTE-Advanced network in Chicago by making use of a technology called "carrier aggregation." That sounds fancy, but it isn't an entirely new concept in mobile networks — the basic idea is that if a carrier doesn't have a large swath of spectrum that is continuous, carrier aggregation lets it pull together separate pieces of spectrum to form a single, faster connection.

The new network will make use of both 700MHz and 2100MHz (AWS) spectrum, at least in Chicago, together to offer a 15MHz wide downlink —that means a theoretical download speed of 110mbps. It doens't make the overall capacity of AT&T's network in these new markets any higher, but it does increase efficiency when you have more customers on a single pipe.

AT&T is the first carrier in the U.S. to make use of carrier aggregation (though Sprint's Spark network is doing similar things) and launch LTE-Advanced, but it's more out of necessity than innovation. Verizon and T-Mobile have swapped and purchased spectrum to have large chunks of continuous waves to have their networks on, offering faster speeds without any fancy tactics.

While an AT&T representitive wouldn't comment on precisly which markets were ready to receive LTE-Advanced next, they did say that multiple markets are already live or in testing where AT&T has fired up the new LTE network equipment. It makes sense for the carrier to keep things quiet right now, though, as only a single mobile hotspot device called the Unite can actually make use of the network. Samsung announced that the Galaxy S5 would support carrier aggregation for LTE-Advanced on U.S. networks, but didn't specify whether or not AT&T was one of them — things are quiet on both sides right now.

Source: GigaOM


Reader comments

AT&T has launched LTE-Advanced via carrier aggregation in Chicago, more locations to come


If the new HTC One gets LTE-A, I may have to switch. Unless Sprint rolls out Spark in my area soon.

Posted via HTC One on Sprint

The new HTC One will have LTE-A capability if the carrier activates their corresponding radio bands. All are available on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 SOC.

I'm still waiting for Big Red to give me LTE-Advanced in San Antonio.

Posted via Android Central App

Long time T-Mobile customer, getting 45 down & 20 up. These are day time speeds that get faster at night. My speeds have continued to get faster over the last few months. Usually the speeds slow down as more customers use the network. Whatever T-Mobile is doing please keep doing it. Sick speeds, great call clarity and the customer assistance is even much better. Throw unlimited data without throttling the speeds just makes me thrilled to continue being a T-Mobile customer. Thank You T-Mobile.

Posted via Android Central App

Yea I get about that too in Saint Louis basically everywhere. I'm a sub contractor and I'm all over the place and always have a good connection and speeds.

Posted via Android Central App

What happens when you drive outside of city limits? My service went to shit. Hence, why I am no longer a T-mo customer.

Ok, but, by now, I'm pretty sure people know the limitations of T-Mobile's service. Just because that's an issue FOR YOU, doesn't make it an issue for everyone.

I have T-Mobile on my phone and Verizon on my iPad Mini. Guess what? Where Verizon beats T-Mobile is coverage; but, where there is a T-Mobile signal, it's usually great and the data speeds far exceed Verizon.

To each, his/her own.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

OK, but, by now, I'm pretty sure people know that his blog has nothing to do with T-Mobile, since these post speak about speeds they do get, others will talk about fail service. Yes, I have a T-Mobile line and have had incredible speeds, to be followed by less then optimal driving less then a mile away or in a building.

Fair enough, lol.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

If people know T-mobile's weaknesses, then they probably know its strengths. Which should be plenty enough reason for T-mo fanboys to stop making off-topic remarks on every single article which mentions AT&T or VZW. Trust me... if T-mo didn't suck ass pretty much everywhere outside of metropolitan cities, I assure you more of us would be signed up :P


Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

I think it's great for everybody to point out carriers strengths and weaknesses. Too bad it's very rare that someone gives all of the relevant details...namely where they are located. On the East coast you can go many dozens if not hundreds of miles outside of a metro area and get great Tmobile service...not quite as true on the West coast. Of course, there's exceptions. One that suprised me was Cape May, NJ was pretty much a deadzone for data but only for a square mile or two.

I was a LONG time Verizon customer as I get a nice corporate discount from them, but I've been getting just about as good service/coverage with MUCH faster data speeds on Tmobile and saving quite a bit each month. No regrets leaving. YMMV...

"Sprint's Spark network is doing similar things, but it's more out of necessity than innovation....." I thought necessity was the mother of invention? but they (Sprint) get dissed because they started this?

I don't get it.


Read it again before you get all butthurt...

AT&T is the first carrier in the U.S. to make use of carrier aggregation (though Sprint's Spark network is doing similar things) and launch LTE-Advanced, but it's more out of necessity than innovation.

That is because Andrew likes to diss Sprint whenever he can. I have pulled 55+ mb on Spark and in chicago, all services are much better than before the upgrades. I know Tmobile is solid here too but I opted for Sprint because if I travel I know I will get better coverage than Tmobile in the boonies.

Posted via Android Central App

Sprint gets dissed becaused the vast majority of their clients are stuck on evdo, you can have all the fancy technology but if its in selected markets it means very little.

You guys misread Andrew's article . Eliminate what's in the parentheses.
It's ATT out of necessity.
Sprint's LTE - A Spark build out is new technology capable of Terabit speeds. ATT is cobbled together out of necessity.

For all you prehistoric Sprint haters out there, Sprint has been rapidly upgrading their infrastructure and capacity covering significantly greater areas over the past 9 months.

For information about the blazing fast Sprint Spark and the new technology simply Google--> Sprint Spark.

Sprint Spark is a revolutionary network capability that is designed to deliver peak wireless speeds of 60Mbps on capable devices.
Sprint Spark, a unique combination of network technologies, spectrum capacity and tri-band devices, is designed to greatly improve the performance of video and other bandwidth-intensive applications, including new generations of online gaming, virtual reality and advanced cloud services.

And with Sprint, one can have unlimited and not throttled service at a great price.

Except on 478 people get to use it out of the whole country. Come back when it almost everywhere.

Is this really considered LTE-A? Isn't LTE-Advanced capable of more than 110mbps?
Sidenote: Anyone know if T-Mobile has deployed the 20x20 Wideband LTE anywhere other than just Dallas yet?

Posted via Android Central App

LTE-A isn't necessarily just a speed boost. 100Mb/s and up is considered LTE-A but carrier aggregation and a whole host of other features are the real "advanced" part.

isn't the current LTE network already theoretically capable of 100 Mbps?

Posted via Android Central App

At what point is it 'fast enough'? I just scanned through the article and some of the comments. Some of you are getting well over 25 down. As I type this on my Walmart class Acer Desktop I am getting 12.45 down on ATT Uverse which I am happy with it and won't shell out more money to go faster. If I could get that on my phone * at a reasonable price * I would be happy.

I would rather see more investment in coverage than a race to see who can be the fastest in 'select areas'. It seems to me that plain ol' LTE and HPFA+ is fast enough to watch movies or youtube on your phone if you are into that, or am I missing something?

Yes! What you are missing is that this is a tech website, and some/hopefully most here, like seeing technological advancements! That is what you are missing.

Posted via Android Central App

I'm with you. I don't download large files or huge apps very often, and it's rare for me to watch HD videos when I'm not connected to wifi anyway. My carrier caps my LTE speed out at 8 Mbps, and that is fine for me, given how cheap it is for 7GB/mo.

The improvements I'd like to see across all carriers are related to network stability and building penetration. I'd take the ability to send a text message from the hospital sub-basement over the ability to download an HD movie in five minutes any day.

Absolutely agree! As long as it does't buffer I don't care. That said, I'll take the 30-50 down I get on my $30 Tmobile prepaid plan lol. I would probably be much better at online gaming if I tethered from my phone rather than my Xfinity wifi...

I just did a speed test inside a Sprint store in Houston using my GS3, an HTC One Maxx, a Galaxy Note 3, and a LG G2/G-Flex. The Samsung phones I used don't have SPARK.

I did this because I just bought my wife a T-Mobile Galaxy Note 3.
Well anyway, I ended up holding the G-Flex and HTC One Maxx, I thought about what I wanted from my device.

I want 1080p and a Snapdragon 800 and SPARK.

I now use a device with no removable battery, no external storage, and from an OEM I've never tried before. And guess what? Sprint's LTE-A(SPARK) rocks!

Posted via my SPARK enabled Sprint LG G2.

Still waiting for the software update that will activate Spark on my Nexus 5. I manually enabled the bands but I'm never able to pull more than 8mb/sec down in Chicago and usually less than that (Last four speedtests were 4.3, 3.5, 4.2, and 2.8). I'm hoping the update will help.