ATandT Plans 3G Network Upgrades
Telecom giant AT&T said May 27 it plans to upgrade its 3G network to reach theoretical peak
speeds of 7.2 Mbps. The
network upgrades are set to begin later this year, with completion
expected in 2011.
The AT&T road map calls for boosting the speed of its mobile broadband network and offering a wide variety of devices to take advantage of the improved speeds well in advance of 2011-2012, when AT&T expects 4G LTE networks and device availability to scale. AT&T plans to begin LTE trials in 2010, with deployment beginning in 2011.
Like rival 4G technology WiMax being rolled out by Clearwire, LTE promises faster upload and download speeds than current 3G deployments. LTE, though, is theoretically much faster than WiMax. Verizon is also committed to LTE, announcing in December that it plans to begin provisioning its 4G network later this year.
Before AT&T gets to LTE, though, it plans to juice its 3G network.
"AT&T's network infrastructure gives us a tremendous advantage in that we're able to deliver upgrades in mobile broadband speed and performance with our existing technology platform," Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets, said in a statement. "With the array of smartphones, laptops and emerging devices taking advantage of AT&T's 3G network today, we know that customers are excited to experience higher mobile broadband speeds, and we are deploying the right technologies at the right times to help them get the most from that experience."
In addition to the speed upgrade to its 3G network, AT&T is also enhancing its mobile broadband coverage by nearly doubling the wireless spectrum dedicated to 3G in most metropolitan areas and is adding thousands of new cell site backhaul connections to support the higher mobile broadband speeds enabled by the HSPA 7.2 upgrade and LTE.