CHARLESTON, W.Va. - After weeks of testing, AT&T officially launched its 4G LTE network in the Charleston area Wednesday.
Some customers might have noticed LTE service crop up on their phones last week, as the company performed final tests on the network.
On Wednesday morning, AT&T officially brought the service online, making Charleston the fifth area in the state now covered by the company's high-speed wireless network.
"We're super excited to have that up and running," said Tom Schindler, AT&T's director of sales for West Virginia. "We've had it testing for a few days and everything is working well."
LTE, which stands for long-term evolution, is the latest form of commercial high-speed wireless communication network technologies. It offers download and mobile browsing speeds 10 times faster than older 3G networks.
AT&T has spent $98 billion upgrading its U.S. wireless network over the last 5 years. It has so far launched LTE service in 346 markets nationwide, covering more than 225 million people.
"In West Virginia, we've had $150 million worth of investments in our wireless and wire-line networks between 2010 and 2012," Schindler said.
The company plans to continue expanding the network. It hopes to have LTE service in 400 markets by the end of the year.
About one-quarter of mobile phone users have LTE-capable phones, however, access to the service has been limited across West Virginia.