AT&T announced today that their high speed LTE data service for mobile customers is expanding in Fairfield County.

Customers with an LTE enabled device, like the iPhone 5 or the Samsung Galaxy S III, should immediately see the speed improvements without any additional software. The device will detect the presence of the faster network and automatically take advantage of the higher speeds.  AT&T says the new service is available in parts of Bethel, Danbury, New Fairfield, Redding, Ridgefield and Sherman. Bridgeport was previously activated in September.

LTE is the latest iteration of wireless mobile technology that offers substantially faster download speeds as compared to prior 3G technology. Depending on network conditions, LTE download and upload speeds can rival and sometimes surpass those of wireline based Internet connections like cable and DSL. The technology also features lower latencies, or the time it takes data to travel to and from the Internet, making even low bandwidth applications like email and screen sharing feel faster as well. 

AT&T says they have invested over $115 billion into network operations nationally over the last five years. The company plans to roll out additional LTE coverage in Hartford and New Haven counties soon according to their website.

AT&T’s largest competitor, Verizon Wireless, has a larger LTE build out in the state, but AT&T says prior upgrades to its 3G technology makes certain devices run at faster speeds than comparable 3G devices on other carriers. 

While data speeds increase substantially with LTE technology, the limits carriers place on data usage have remained largely the same. Both AT&T and Verizon cap data usage at around 3 to 4 gigabytes per month on their standard data plans before overage charges kick in. LTE can burn through those caps in about an hour if transmitting a large amount of data.

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