LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - If it seemed like your smart phone is moving faster it isn't your imagination. AT&T customers got good news when the cell phone giant finally flipped the switch on the 4G LTE service in Kentuckiana.
AT&T is hailing the development as a great day for local customers, but many of those customers have been frustrated with the speed at which AT&T delivered its new high speed cell phone service to Louisville.
Justin Key was one of the first to get the news when he looked down at his iPhone on his way into work.
"Six a.m. yesterday morning driving into the courthouse and I just noticed the LTE symbol," Key said.
The "LTE" symbol he spotted on his AT&T iPhone meant the cell phone giant has finally activated its 4G LTE service in Louisville Metro. 4G LTE provides mobile Internet speeds up to ten times faster than the old 3G technology on smart phones and tablets. That means faster video streaming, downloads and uploads, and better access to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
"It's a night and day difference from the previous service," said Key, noting he has already seen better results in trouble spots like high rises and the upper floors of the Jefferson County Justice Center.
The news comes one month after a WAVE 3 Troubleshooter Investigation exposed growing frustration among local AT&T customers about slow network speeds. In places you wouldn't expect.
"Even walking around downtown and also in Southern Indiana," Key said. "I think the whole Metro area was affected by it."
In its news release, AT&T boasted its 4G network now covers 3,000 more cities and towns than its chief competitor, Verizon Wireless. But Verizon launched its 4G LTE network in Louisville in April 2011, more than a year and a half before AT&T.
AT&T senior public relations manager Cathy Lewandowski said "a faster rollout isn't always a better roll out" and the company "wanted to fine tune its network" before flipping the switch on 4G LTE.
Lewandowski also said the extra time allowed the company to put into place a backup 4G system, known as "HSPA plus" that will provide less network speed drop off when customers travel outside the LTE coverage area.
For customers like Justin Key, the activation of AT&T'S 4G LTE system frustration over delays is gone, "for the most part."
"It's hard to go through years of not being able to call or text clients when you need to," he said.
Customers of some other major wireless providers are also still waiting for 4G LTE.
Sprint said Louisville is not included in the 32 cities the company serves with its 4G LTE service. And Sprint could not say when customers in Louisville would see that upgrade.
A T-Mobile spokesperson said the company currently offers the more stripped down, "HSPA plus" 4G service and won't be rolling out upgrades to 4G LTE until 2013.
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