Originally published: September 13, 2012
Last updated: September 19, 2012 - 11:53pm
LTE is fast — fast enough for a phone, fast enough for a mobile hotspot. That's partly because LTE is inherently a faster, better, more efficient technology, but it's also because of the obvious: it hasn't been graced with a worldwide phenomenon like the iPhone.
Apple waited a generation with the iPhone until LTE was sufficiently mature to integrate it, and Cupertino is undoubtedly hoping that holding off has given the networks a chance to settle — another nationwide Verizon data outage will affect not just Verizon customers, but Apple customers as well. There’s no way of knowing whether AT&T, Verizon, or — in the handful of markets where it's live, Sprint — is best prepared to handle this launch. Ironically, AT&T's HSPA+ network will almost certainly begin to speed up as its customers upgrade to the iPhone 5 and offload usage to the LTE network. In the long term, carriers will siphon off 3G capacity and use it to augment the newer technology — just as they're beginning to do with 2G today — but for now, it's back to the age-old equation of supply and demand. Or in Apple's case, crushing, unprecedented demand.
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