AT&T has announced today that the first device capable of working on its 4G LTE/HSPA+ wireless network will not be a smartphone or tablet, but rather a mobile hotspot that can connect your smartphone, tablet, or laptop to the carrier’s faster 4G network soon to deployed sometime later this summer in select cities.
A mobile hotspot, for those that don’t know, is a device that creates a Wi-Fi network that you can then connect other devices, just like your wireless network at home or in the office. Unlike your router, however, a hotspot delivers data access just like your smartphone does, over the carrier’s cellular data network. The big difference between older, 3G hotspots and the new Elevate 4G device will be speed. 4G data transfer rates are considerably faster than 3G speeds. Exactly how fast? Well, we’ll have to wait to get a device in our hands to find out.
The AT&T Mobile Hotspot Elevate 4G needs so software to get all your mobile devices up and running on 4G. The handy LCD screen on the front will walk any user through setup. Have multiple devices that need that stupid-fast connection? Up to five users or devices can connect to the Elevate 4G over Wi-Fi.
Finally, if you’re an international jet-setter, the Elevate 4G lets you stay connected even when traveling the globe…just be ready to fork over for those international roaming charges.
There is no official word on when AT&T will roll out smartphones capable of handling the new 4G network (my safe guess would be the next generation of the iPhone), but if you are an AT&T fan looking for even more speed (and possibly more reliability), then you can get a 4G capable device in your hands soon. Head on over to AT&T’s site to sign up to get a notification when the Elevate 4G becomes available.