AT&T has announced that they have surpassed their long term goal of bringing 4G LTE to 300 million Americans and they have achieved this months ahead of their expected timeline. For those unfamiliar with 4G this is basically the fastest form of data technology for cellular networks available. In short 4G currently lets you download images, video chat or watch movies at a much more consistent and speedier pace than other forms of the technology. The ‘G’ very simply stands for ‘Generation’ and with this being ‘4G’ it’s no surprise this is the fourth generation which is credited with being roughly four to five times faster than its predecessor, 3G.
Back in November 2012 AT&T launched Project VIP (Velocity IP) as a means to grow the business and expand. According to AT&T, one of the main objectives of VIP was the expansion of their 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) network to cover 300 million Americans by the end of 2014. At the end of 2013 in their annual report AT&T announced they had increased their coverage to just short of 280 million. Then back at the start of summer this number had increased to 290 million. Now with today’s announcement it seems AT&T have reached their goal of 300 million Americans months before the expected deadline. The measurement being used is actually POPs and not the exact number of people. For those of you wondering POPs refer to a point-of-presence which is essentially an access point to the internet/network.
T-Mobile have embarked on a similar goal when back in March 2014 they announced they intend to upgrade its current 2G/EDGE network to 4G LTE although there was no definitive deadline given by T-Mobile like it was by AT&T. Instead, T-Mobile advised they expect 50% of the network to be upgraded by the end of 2014 with the majority of the network “substantially complete” by the middle of 2015. The last confirmation of T-Mobile’s goal was back in June when T-Mobile had advised they had reached coverage for 230 million POPs. Interestingly they announced this on twitter and took the opportunity to take a swipe at Sprint by adding “Where you at @Sprint? I hear you’re running behind. #sprintlikehell”. Unfortunately, (for AT&T) they still trail behind Verizon who claims their LTE network extends to 306 million POPs. However at the rate AT&T are working at this may change very soon.