AT&T is finally putting its 4G money where it’s mouth is, today announcing that it will roll out LTE service in five cities this summer. These include Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Atlanta, and San Antonio. The carrier also promises that it will add 10 or more markets in the second half of the year, covering 70 million Americans. That’s a pretty good start, but Verizon is already covering 55 metro areas with LTE goodness, which will grow to 175 markets in the U.S. by the end of 2011.
As for LTE gear, AT&T will only say that it’s adding 20 4G devices to its portfolio this year and that some of them will be LTE capable. While speed results look good in the lab, we’d like to see what kind of real-world throughput AT&T’s network will offer, as well as how well it hands off between HSPA+ and LTE. This is one area where Verizon needs improvement, as hand-offs between 4G and 3G have been shaky at best.