AT&T Says Its LTE Phones Will Be Slim And Easy On The Battery

Illustration for article titled ATT Says Its LTE Phones Will Be Slim And Easy On The Battery

When AT&T rolls out its LTE service, its handsets will be slimmer and have better battery life than their Verizon Wireless counterparts, says AT&T CEO Ralph de la Vega.

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According to de la Vega, AT&T's secret sauce is circuit-switched fallback. CSFB lets a 4G handset use LTE for data and legacy 3G networks for voice. This backwards compatibility forces each LTE handset to have two radios, but AT&T claims its implementation will not add a lot of bulk to the handset or excessively drain the battery.

CSFB improves battery life by allowing the handset to keep its 3G radio dormant until an incoming call is received or an outgoing call is placed. The phone doesn't have to fully power two cellular radios all the time, so its battery life is extended.

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This Is My Next asked Verizon about CSFB and the carrier would neither confirm nor deny whether it uses this technology in its LTE handsets. Whether Verizon uses CSFB or not may not really matter. By the time AT&T gets its LTE handsets out the door, Verizon will be moving its voice services off 3G and onto LTE, a process that'll begin in 2012. [CNET via This Is My Next]

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DISCUSSION

Verizon dumping CDMA voice in favor of voice over LTE is laughable at this point. There are millions (literally millions) of people who will depend on CDMA for voice on Vzw including people who purchase non-LTE phones today. Unless Vzw plans on upgrading every single customer to an LTE phone in 2012 for free or sub $50, I highly doubt this move is going to be made.

Also LTE has a long way to go radio wise to be able to offer the same battery life that a 3G only model has. While this will come very soon, it won't be next year soon.

The smart thing to do would have been either to start investing in LTE immediately after the introduction of EvDO Rev. A or to start the process of moving to EvDO Rev. B which offered faster speeds and concurrent voice and data iirc, since they did neither (I don't even know if LTE tech existed that long ago) I see CDMA being phased out somewhere starting in 2013 with complete disconnection by the end of 2014 at the earliest.