Dallas - AT&T unveiled its first mobile-broadband modems that users can upgrade to the HSPA+ and 4G LTE cellular-data technologies, but the carrier declined to specify whether they would be available this year.
One is the LG-made AT&T USBConnect Adrenaline, which can be upgraded by the end user to 4G LTE technology, and which AT&T plans to launch in select markets beginning sometime in 2011. The other USB modem is the Sierra Wireless-made AT&T USBConnect Shockwave, which can be upgraded to HSPA+. AT&T described HSPA+ as the "next evolution of 3G network technology," while competitor T-Mobile said it delivers 4G speeds. AT&T will launch HSPA + service by the end of 2010.
Both modems will operate on AT&T's current HSPA network.
The LTE-upgradable Adrenaline will cost $49.99 with two-year service agreement and minimum data plan. The price is after $100 mail-in rebate, which takes the form of a promotion card. The Shockwave will be free after $100 mail-in rebate with two-year contract and minimum data plan.
The free upgrades can be accomplished through the carrier's AT&T Communication Manager or AT&T Global Network Clients on a laptop.
Adrenaline is equipped with an internal antenna, multiple-OS support, built-in GPS for enterprise applications, a multi-color LED status indicator, and a MicroSD memory card slot supporting cards up to 32GB.
Both devices can be used to access Wi-Fi hotspots, including AT&T's more than 23,000 hotspots, as part of an accompanying DataConnect or DataConnect Pass data plan.
"With the planned deployment of HSPA+ technology later this year, combined with the continued rollout of expanded backhaul, AT&T will have increased our 3G download or upload speeds multiple times in five years," said AT&T VP Michael Woodward. "We have purposefully planned our path to LTE to create a wireless network where the transition from 3G does not give customers wireless whiplash."