AT&T announced Thursday the premiere of 4G LTE service in Marietta. The announcement means local AT&T customers with compatible wireless devices now benefit from speeds up to 10 times faster than that offered through the previous 3G service.
There service automatically went into effect Thursday on compatible AT&T wireless devices, and there is no extra cost for the service, explained B.J. Smith, AT&T director of external affairs.
"It means faster speeds. That's for people who live here, who are visiting here, or who may be looking at locating new business here," said Smith.
The advanced service was made possible thanks to $1.6 billion of investment in Ohio since AT&T announced its plans for 4G expansion in 2012, said Smith.
Several area politicians were on hand Thursday morning for the official roll out at Marietta's AT&T store and praised the investment in local wireless technology.
"This is great news for the constituents of Marietta that I serve," said Marietta Mayor Joe Matthews.
There is a great demand locally for fast, reliable coverage, added Ohio Rep. Andy Thompson, R-Marietta.
"There are certain parts of my district that really struggle with coverage," he said.
The availability of faster mobile service will strengthen the economy and be conducive to local business development, speculated Ohio Sen. Lou Gentile, D-Steubenville.
"It is critical for small businesses to have the best possible wireless coverage. Southeast Ohio will have a technology that will lend to helping grow our economy," said Gentile.
The advancement was accomplished by adding new equipment onto AT&T's existing local structures, explained area retail account executive Dave Maciejewski.
The new technology will only be available on compatible devices, he explained. Those devices will typically display "LTE" when using the service.
AT&T has already made the 4G LTE service available in 500 markets and hopes to complete the expanded coverage nationwide by the end of the year.