At Mobile World Congress, AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega had mentioned
to us that AT&T was "better off" than Verizon thanks to 3GPP Release 7's capabilities to extend existing HSPA infrastructure through to 21Mbps and beyond by using the wonders of HSPA+ before the company would need to bite the bullet and get moving on LTE
. We're not sure whether Big Red's aggressive LTE plans
have AT&T rethinking its strategy or if it just wants to save time, money, and energy by avoiding yet another interim rollout, but we're now being told by a company spokesman that "it's likely that timelines for LTE standards will lead us directly from 7.2 to LTE." He mentions that HSPA+ is "still an option," but at any rate, this is a markedly different tone than we've heard in the past -- even as late as last month
-- and if this means we're getting LTE even a single day sooner, we're all for it.