Gifts Under $25 iPhone Emergency SOS Saves Man Twitter Suspends Kanye MyHeritage 'Time Machine' Guardians of the Galaxy 3 Trailer White Bald Eagle Indiana Jones 5 Trailer Black Hole's 1,000 Trillion Suns
Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?
No, thank you

AT&T says true 4G is coming in 2013, but will it beat Verizon?

AT&T reportedly plans to "fire up" LTE Advanced next year, while Sprint plays catch up and Verizon stays mum.

Soon to up the ante?

If the rumors are true, real, honest-to-god 4G in the United States could be on the way sometime in the next 7 to 12 months. FierceWireless reports on word from AT&T's annual meeting with analysts that it will be "firing up" new "LTE Advanced" service across its network in the second half of 2013.

What is LTE Advanced? Well, it's a lot like 4G LTE, only more, um, advanced.

See, in the old days of mobile broadband -- like, all the way back in 2011 -- carriers started marketing services they called 4G, but in the real world, they really only offered speeds one-tenth or one-twentieth those of the actual 4G standard, which is meant to deliver download speeds in the range of 100Mbps. That means we were suddenly able to download full songs out of the air in mere seconds on these new 4G services.

That's right, I said seconds instead of the single second it should be taking us over true 4G. And thus we were robbed in the name of marketing. After all, who wants to wait five full seconds to download "Party Rock Anthem?"

But now it looks like next year will produce a savior in the form of a carrier to deliver us to a land of true 4G LTE Advanced with extra cheese... or whatever.

Sprint has LTE Advanced on their roadmaps as well, but was only talking speeds of 15Mbps at last check.

So if AT&T winds up as the first company that can actually deliver triple-digit Mbps speeds, we may finally stop poking fun at the company's one-time inability to deliver consistent service without dropped calls and dead zones in the biggest of American cities.

That's right my fellow soldiers of snark, it may finally be time to make nice with the big blue deathstar, for this may be the year we all fall to our knees and beg AT&T to bring its new network to our towns.

Then again, by that time it could all be a moot point, as Verizon's CEO claimed this week that by the time the other guys are making their next big 4G moves, Big Red will already be looking at 5G and 6G networks.