AT&T is expanding its 4G wireless coverage in more of the triangle, but sources say the telecommunications giant may drop the recently launched HTC phone that incorporates Facebook.
On Monday, AT&T (NYSE: T) said it had expanded 4G wireless coverage into Roxboro, Franklinton and Creedmoore.
The company utilizes LTE, or long-term evolution, technology to deliver data 10 times faster than older 3G technology. It is rolling out more 4G coverage across the state. Much of the Triangle has been covered since January 2012.
Verizon Wireless also offers 4G in the Triangle. Sprint plans deployment later this year.
“We’ve seen positive response from customers on our 4G LTE launch, and as today’s expansion shows, we’re continuing our rollout of fast 4G LTE speeds to more areas of Raleigh,” said Carlos Sanchez, AT&T’s director of External Affairs in North Carolina, in a statement.
Earlier Monday, AT&T said its network expansion efforts in North Carolina meant the creation of 250 new jobs while another 150 jobs are open.
However, Bloomberg news reported Monday afternoon that AT&T is considering whether to stop selling an HTC Corp. phone that integrates Facebook Inc. social-networking features after slashing the price by about $100.
“We’ve made no decisions on future plans,” said Mark Siegel, a spokesman for Dallas-based AT&T. AT&T last month became the first U.S. wireless-service provider to sell the HTC First, a smartphone that comes with Facebook’s Home social- networking software.
The prospect that AT&T may drop the device indicates lackluster demand for a phone whose price was already sliced to 99 cents from $99.99. Facebook unveiled Home in early April, underscoring the urgency of keeping mobile users more engaged. Home software has met with mixed reviews, and Facebook said last week that it has been downloaded about 1 million times.
“This is a bit of a disaster for Facebook when you look at it in context with the ongoing backlash against Facebook Home,” said Tero Kuittinen, New York-based head of sales and marketing for Alekstra Oy, a mobile diagnostics company.
Siegel declined to comment on sales of the HTC First. Technology blog BGR reported today that AT&T had discontinued the phone, citing a person it didn’t identify.
Derick Mains, a spokesman for Menlo Park, California-based Facebook, declined to comment. Shannon Roarke, a spokeswoman for HTC at Waggener Edstrom Worldwide Ltd., declined to comment.