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Tuesday, April 03, 2012, 12:43 pm PT (03:43 pm ET)

AT&T's 4G LTE network expanding in Texas, Indiana on April 8

Starting this Sunday, AT&T will expand its high-speed 4G LTE network to three new markets located in Texas and Indiana.

When AT&T flips the switch on its LTE network in Bryan-College Station, Tex., and Bloomington and Muncie, Ind., the true 4G network will be available in a total of 31 markets in the U.S.

AT&T advertises that its "4G" network covers nearly 250 million people, but that applies to the carrier's HSPA+ coverage as well as 4G LTE. Starting with iOS 5.1, iPhone 4S users have seen AT&T's HSDPA network advertised as "4G," even though it is not connected to a true fourth-generation network.

There is one Apple device that does connect to 4G LTE networks, and that's the new iPad. To draw a distinction between the "4G" indicator on the iPhone 4S and the true 4G with the new iPad, the third-generation tablet shows its 4G connectivity with an "LTE" indicator instead.

AT&T's true LTE 4G network is available to about 74 million people. It began rollout of its LTE network after rival Verizon, which now offers high-speed 4G connectivity to over 200 million people.

AT&T


Apple has built unique versions of the new iPad to allow 4G LTE compatibility with both AT&T and Verizon's networks. That's different from the iPhone 4S, which comes in one "world" phone model compatible with both Verizon and AT&T in the U.S., as well as Sprint. In addition to connecting to CDMA networks in the U.S., it can also roam on GSM networks worldwide.

Though the new iPad is Apple's first true 4G device, LTE connectivity is rumored to come to the next iPhone, which is expected to arrive later this year. The 4G LTE chip in the sixth-generation iPhone is expected to be provided by Qualcomm in the form of its "MDM9615" chip.