The Ugly Truth About Telecom Right Now

Want 4G speeds? Don't ask AT&T (NYSE: T  ) . Responding to a complaint filed with the Better Business Bureau earlier this month, the carrier admitted to suppressing a feature that would allow an ATRIX smartphone to connect to a higher-speed network.

"The ATRIX is a HSUPA-capable device, and we currently are performing the testing and preparations necessary to ensure that, when we turn this feature on, you will continue to have a world class experience," AT&T said in its response to Dallas-area customer Keith Geissler.

Translation: Sorry, but we aren't ready to give you the fast upload speeds we promised in our advertising. Oops!

To be fair, AT&T isn't the only one struggling to cater to data-hungry mobile users. Last month, Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) said it would throttle speeds on those with the largest on-the-go appetites in order to better handle the volume created by tens of thousands of new iPhone users. Clearwire (Nasdaq: CLWR  ) has also been criticized for failing to deliver fast upload speeds on its WiMAX network.

So neither Big Red nor the Big Blue Ball nor any of their peers are ready for 4G. For users and investors alike, this means facing an uncomfortable truth. Much as we dream of on-the-go broadband, the reality is that it's probably months or even years away.

Sorry I can't be more reassuring. Take heart in knowing you aren't the only one struggling with the Ugly Truth. From an old favorite of mine, A Few Good Men:

Let us know what you think about AT&T's 4G plans and when, as consumers, we'll see real high-speed broadband brought to the Mobile Web using the comments box below.

You can also rate AT&T in Motley Fool CAPS and keep tabs on all the companies mentioned in this article by adding the stocks to your watchlist for free, personalized stock tracking.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team. He didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned here at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. Its disclosure policy is too fast to be seen.


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