Only a few weeks after their target date of the end of 2011, AT&T has switched on their 4G LTE network in NYC and San Francisco among other places. Eleven cities got their new systems turned on Jan. 5, and that brings the total number of U.S. cities under the AT&T 4G network to 26. Around 74 million people now have access to the system, according to the carrier. AT&T is still behind Verizon because AT&T didn't start building out their system until nearly a year after Verizon did.
Additionlly, AT&T had planned to expand the LTE network quite rapidly because of their intended buyout of telecom T-Mobile. That deal was blocked by the FCC, and so AT&T has been forced to rely more on its 3G network. Besides New York and San Francisco, Oakland, San Diego, Austin, Raleigh, San Jose, Orlando, Los Angeles and Phoenix have all been upgraded to the super fast mobile broadband network. With the network in place, people can start downloading and Web surfing at much higher speeds with their LG Nitro HD's, Galaxy S2 Skyrockets and HTC Vivids. The speeds vary by landscape, nearby buildings and what you're doing with the device, but some have reported around 20 Mbps download speeds and about half that for upload speeds. Furthermore, each city may have slightly different speeds as some have reported faster speeds in Houston compared to Chicago, for example. That's because AT&T builds the systems a little differently in each area.
LTE is the latest version of wireless network technology, and it connects mobile devices and modems to the Internet on broadband networks at speeds much faster than 3G, or even slower 4G technologies like WiMax or HSPA+. Tell us in the comments if you live in one of AT&T's LTE areas and what kind of speeds you are seeing.