AT&T 4G network won't catch up with Verizon for at least two years

AT&T recently announced plans to roll out its own 4G LTE network this summer. But even the wireless provider's CEO says that the network won't be able to catch up with Verizon any time soon.

AT&T recently announced plans to roll out its own 4G LTE network this summer. But even the wireless provider's CEO says that the network won't be able to catch up with Verizon any time soon.

Speaking at the D9 Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. on Thursday, AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega maintained an optimistic spin on the situation by responding to AllThingsD's Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher that AT&T plans to move quickly and competitively with Verizon:

Within two to three years, LTE coverage will be indistinguishable.

That's actually a long time to wait considering how fast 4G-enabled devices are emerging this year. Considering only five cities are on deck so far with the upcoming 4G launch, AT&T really isn't moving all that quickly.

However, the key to speeding all of this up would be to pick up the pace on the merger with T-Mobile. CNN reports:

De la Vega says the proposed merger will improve the quality of AT&T's network because it will be able to use T-Mobile's cell sites. Major cities, such as New York and San Francisco, should see the most significant benefits, he said. Building a new cell site in San Francisco takes two to three times longer than in other cities, he said.

For anyone who has used a smartphone running on AT&T's network (especially the iPhone) in San Francisco or New York City, then you know how hard it is to get decent reception - if any at all. This would be a really welcomed change if it ever happens.

Of course, not if Sprint has anything to say about it. As for the nation's third largest carrier, de la Vega keeps things amicable by calling Sprint a "viable competitor" and that it "has done well in this environment."

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