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January 05, 2011

AT&T to Intro 20 New High-Speed Phones in 2011

The market outlook is sure to change for AT&T as the company is facing its first year since the release of the iPhone (News - Alert) that it will not be the exclusive provider. Verizon Wireless is expected to kick off sales of the popular smartphone early in 2011.

According to this Reuters (News - Alert) piece, the mobile carrier does have plans to reposition itself in the market. The company will sell 20 phones that offer high-speed Web surfing this year, including about a dozen that run the Google Android operating system. This move is expected to help the carrier to lessen its dependence on iPhone sales.

At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which kicked off Wednesday in Las Vegas, AT&T (News - Alert) executives said that the 20 phone lineup would include Google Android devices from Motorola, HTC and Samsung. At the beginning of 2010, AT&T announced five new smartphones.

The company also said that it plans to sell the Motorola tablet, but did not elaborate any further. Suggestions were made in the Reuters report that AT&T could be shifting its alliances to Motorola, a company most recently serving as a key phone maker for Verizon (News - Alert).

The Atrix 4G phone from Motorola is expected to go on sale this quarter and will attach to a laptop to enable consumers to take advantage of the computer’s bigger screen for Web browsing or viewing videos.

AT&T’s president and head of mobility, Ralph de la Vega, said in an interview that the phone will change the way people work. He also said that after a good fourth quarter and seasonal pickup in demand, he anticipates 2011 will be a strong year for smartphone sales.

The number 2 mobile provider has come under fire for its patchy wireless service and as bandwidth-hogging phones continue to jump on the network, the strain is increasing. The executive has promised to speed up AT&T’s plan to upgrade its network to LTE (News - Alert) to the middle of 2011, with coverage for as many as 75 million people by the end of the year. The launch puts it a year behind Verizon.

According to de le Vega, the company will pick up the pace in 2012 and plans to have its national LTE high-speed upgrade largely complete by the end of 2013. The first LTE phones are expected to hit the market in the second half of this year.
Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Stefanie Mosca

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