AT&T announced Monday its next-generation 4G network will be commercially available in 2011. The carrier had previously said the new network would begin trials in 2010.
The 2011 timeframe would put the exclusive iPhone carrier a year behind rival Verizon Wireless, which has said its trials of a Long Term Evolution (LTE) network would begin this year.
For AT&T, the shift in timing for introducing LTE differs from previous statements by the carrier suggesting it intended to use its 3G HSPA, or HSPA+, technology until 2012.
Introducing LTE, which is more than five times faster than HSPA+, may signal AT&T’s desire to offer wider services, including VoIP, mobile gaming and video calls.
The carrier announced its plans at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona, Spain.