It looks like AT&T has a New Year’s surprise for its mobile customers in the Coachella Valley.
Some AT&T subscribers started to see their smartphones switch to the company’s LTE data network Monday afternoon. LTE is the fastest service available. AT&T says their 4G LTE network delivers mobile speeds up to 10 times faster than their older 3G network.
AT&T customers in coastal areas have been enjoying LTE speeds for more than a year, while those in the desert have had to get by with slower data connections. That seems to be changing.
The Desert Sun couldn’t get in touch with an AT&T spokesman to officially confirm the company’s plans, but we did talk to a customer service representative. She said the company is building LTE towers across the valley and has more planned, so residents should start to see more LTE coverage soon.
A few of those towers have already been activated around Palm Springs, she said, which may be why some mobile phones began to switch to the LTE network on Monday.
UPDATE (12/31): Alex Carey, a spokesman for AT&T, emailed us a statement Tuesday morning. Here is what he said about the company’s plans to expand local 4G LTE coverage:
“We haven’t announced specific expansion plans for the Palm Springs/Coachella Valley area yet, but we do plan to continue expanding our 4G LTE footprint over the coming months. We’ve been actively testing 4G LTE in the Coachella Valley for several weeks, and customers with 4G LTE-capable devices may have seen areas where 4G LTE was live.”