AT&T’s first 4G phone coming earlier: rumor

Arguably the most anticipated phone to hit AT&T since the iPhone 4 went on sale last year, the Atrix 4G will be the carrier’s first to delve into its next-generation mobile network. And now it looks like customers may be able to get their hands on it earlier than expected.

Engadget claims to have gotten its hands on an internal Motorola document in which it, the manufacturer of the Atrix, says it is pushing the phone’s availability from early March all the way up to February 22.

Reportedly, AT&T customer service representatives are receiving a memo about the new release date.

The Atrix 4G is garnering a lot of attention because it is the first 4G device to launch on AT&T’s network. AT&T itself is the last major carrier in the US to launch a 4G-enabled phone, and now it needs to play catch-up to Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile.

It’s especially important since AT&T no longer has the exclusive rights to Apple’s iPhone, which helped skyrocket the carrier to stardom even though its service, by many accounts, did not improve with its newfound fame and fortune.

For AT&T more than any other service provider, the transition to 4G is a chance to prove itself. After being criticized for having sloppy service over the last several years, it has the opportunity to show that it can create a more powerful and more reliable network than its competitors. It better not blow it.