AT&T steps up 4G LTE plans

AT&T is stepping up the rollout of its 4G LTE network, launching in its first markets by the end of Q2 2011, in step with the launch of 20 4G devices for Google’s Android, Microsoft’s WP7 and Apple’s iOS. The telco says it will complete its LTE deployment by 2013. This follows Verizon Wireless’ debut of 10 4G LTE devices at CES 2011, and the announcement that its 4G LTE service will be in approximately 175 markets by the end of the year.

In the wake of purchasing FLO TV’s spectrum from Qualcomm, AT&T is also faced with reinventing the content that FLO provided for its walled-garden offerings. In addition to continuing to resell MobiTV’s streaming video service, AT&T plans to launch a branded streaming video service powered by MobiTV later this year. In addition, AT&T offers its U-verse Mobile service, which is now optimized for Android devices. The telco’s launch of multiple versions of mobile TV can be understood as a reflection of the uncertainties surrounding the most successful mobile TV business model. Although MobiTV’s executives claim that their service is financially secure, the demise of FLO TV and the advent of mobile broadband and mobile DTV raise questions about the ongoing viability of carrier-branded mobile TV.