AT&T activates 4G LTE network in Anchorage

AT&T announced Sept. 6 that the company has turned on its 4G LTE network in Anchorage.

The 4G LTE network will provide faster speeds for mobile internet, and can carry data traffic more efficiently than older network types, according to a statement from AT&T.

“We continue to see demand for mobile Internet skyrocket, and our 4G LTE network in Anchorage responds to what customers want from their mobile experience — more, faster, on the best devices,” said Scott Meyers, director of sales, AT&T mobility in Alaska, in a statement.

Alaska Communications is in the final phase of testing before rolling out its 4G LTE system, which it began constructing in August 2011. Verizon Wireless is also building out a 4G LTE network, expected to be turned up by mid-2013 when the company debuts in the Alaska market.

GCI runs a HSPA+ network in Anchorage and other state markets, which is billed as 4G but is not as fast as 4G LTE. AT&T also operates a HSPA+ network in Anchorage (high-speed packet access).

The new AT&T network speeds are available only on compatible phones, which “fall back” from 4G LTE to the HSPA+ network when customers leave the LTE coverage area.

Earlier this summer, Alaska Communications and GCI announced their intent to combine the companies’ infrastructure assets to create the Alaska Wireless Network. Both companies will keep separate retail and marketing operations.

The move still has to work through the regulatory process, but will give customers of both companies better coverage over a wider area and will give each of the Alaska telecoms a stronger position to compete against the national carriers.

Apple Inc. has said it will release information about the iPhone 5 in September, which is expected to be compatible with 4G LTE networks. ACS, AT&T, and GCI all now offer the iPhone 4S.

09/06/2012 - 1:27pm