AT&T may not launch LTE until the autumnal equinox–that’s Sept. 23

fall mobileApparently when AT&T said it would roll out LTE services this summer, it was speaking in terms of astronomical seasons. This morning I wrote a story about AT&T pre-launching its first LTE devices next week and pointed out that AT&T had but two short weeks to turn on the network to meet its self-imposed summer deadline (CP: AT&T LTE devices go on sale Monday; Network still on hold). Shortly afterward I got an e-mail from an AT&T spokesperson, pointing out that AT&T had far more than two weeks to spare. According to the spokesperson, summer doesn’t technically end until late September.

She’s right—if you measure your seasons in astronomical time. By that measure, summer ends when the plane of the earth’s orbit intersects the equator at its closest point to the sun, otherwise known as the autumnal equinox, which this year falls on 9:04 AM, Sept. 23. That gives AT&T 37 days and change to take LTE live before we can officially call it tardy.

Forgive me for poking fun, but I generally assume summer to be the months of June through August. I think it’s safe to say that most of AT&T’s customers, investors and regulators probably assume that summer means June through August also—unless they all happen to be meteorologists or practicing Wiccans. Perhaps “Q3” or “end of September” or “by the changing of the leaves” would have served better for clarity’s sake (extra points if you got the “fall leaves mobile” pun of the image above).

Of course, that doesn’t mean AT&T won’t launch before the end of August—though it would make me wonder why AT&T would point out such temporal nuances if it weren’t. But just in case, AT&T is now on the record as having another 5 weeks to make its deadline. So technically we can’t whine if we don’t see AT&T LTE for another month.

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