Tired of waiting for AT&T to launch their first LTE devices? Yeah — so is AT&T, it would seem. So much so, in fact, that they’re prepping to launch their first LTE devices early next week… before their LTE network is even officially fired up.
So, why launch these devices before the LTE network is up and ready? Because it lets them say they’ve got LTE devices, of course. Plus, they’ll still work, to some degree — they’ll just be limited to AT&T’s not-quite-4G-but-they-call-it-4G-anyway HSPA+ network until the LTE starts to light up later this summer.
Now, before my fellow phone-geeks get too worked up: in what seems to be a trend for the carriers as of late, AT&T’s first devices to run on the new network won’t be phones — they’re laptop tethering devices.
For the lone road warriors, AT&T’s launching the USBConnect Momentum (pictured right), which’ll juice your laptop into the LTE network over USB. For the folks that roam in packs, they’re launching the Elevate (pictured up top), a MiFi-esque, 4G-powered WiFi hotspot (turn it on, let it connect to the 4G network, and connect up to 5 devices over WiFi). Both are launching on August 21st, though the price tags for these things
still seem to be under wraps. (Update: Looks like the Momentum will go for $50 on a two-year contract, while the Elevate will go for $70.)
AT&T also took the opportunity to confirm the monthly pricing for LTE “data-only mobile broadband” devices (read: not phones): $50 a month gets you 5 gigabytes, with each gigabyte you use over costing you another $10. The future of data continues to look pretty damned expensive.