AT&T lights up 4G network in Bay Area

Shhh, this is unofficial information. But little birdies have whistled to both Engadget and CNet that AT&T has flipped the switch on its brand-new, high-speed 4G LTE wireless network across the Bay Area.

The network is probably just being testing for now, but CNet reported a reader who saw AT&T 4G download speeds between 18- and 20mb-per-second in Richmond and Alameda, with upstream speeds around 10mb-per-second. That’s fast. Gotta Be Mobile got about 12-mb-per-second testing Verizon’s LTE network in San Francisco.

It’s worth noting that these initial speeds are being seen on an uncluttered, untested AT&T LTE network, not the busy, production-grade LTE that Verizon is pumping out.

You won’t get the 4G speeds with AT&T iPhone, which is stuck using 3G wireless technology. But a strong suite of Android offerings — really a first for AT&T — can exploit what look to be about the fastest 4G pipes out there.