(Updates with closing stock price in sixth paragraph.)
Oct. 31 (Bloomberg) -- AT&T Inc., the second-largest U.S. mobile carrier, plans to start selling its first handsets using a faster standard called long-term evolution on Nov. 6, a bid to catch up with larger rival Verizon Wireless.
AT&T’s first LTE phones, both running Google Inc.’s Android software, will be the $200 Vivid from HTC Corp. and the $250 Galaxy S II Skyrocket from Samsung Electronics Co., according to a statement from the carrier today. To get those prices, customers need to sign up for two-year service agreements.
The Dallas-based carrier said it is expanding its LTE service to Boston, Washington, Baltimore, and Athens, Georgia, after starting it in five markets last month. AT&T plans to offer LTE in 15 cities by year-end. Verizon started selling its first LTE handset, the HTC Thunderbolt, in March and offers LTE in about 165 metropolitan areas.
AT&T “is going to be rolling out markets fairly rapidly now, so they’ll come on line rather quickly,” said Chris King, a Stifel Nicolaus &Co. analyst in Baltimore. He rates AT&T “buy.”
AT&T and Verizon Wireless, co-owned by Verizon Communications Inc. and Vodafone Group Plc, are boosting network speeds and offering devices with more capabilities to lure higher-spending customers. Both the Vivid and the Skyrocket have 4.5-inch (11.4-centimeter) screens, accommodating users who are increasingly browsing the Web and watching video on their handsets.
Shares of AT&T fell 1.4 percent to $29.31 at the close in New York. The stock is little changed this year.
--Editors: Ville Heiskanen, Peter Elstrom
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