ATandT Outlines 3G Network Speed Boosts

The carrier plans to deploy High Speed Packet Access 7.2 technology in six markets by the end of 2009. AT&T also says it will build about 2,000 new cell sites, add backhaul capacity and increase the number of its Wi-Fi sites.

AT&T Sept. 9 promised increased speeds for its 3G network in six U.S. cities by the end of the year as part of the rollout plans for its HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) 7.2 technology. The first targeted cities include Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami and Charlotte, N.C.
According to AT&T, the upgraded network platform allows for theoretical peak speeds of 7.2M bps, but typical real-world downlink and uplink speeds experienced by customers with upgraded 3G will be less than the theoretical peak. Network performance, warned AT&T, will vary based on a number of factors, including location, device and overall traffic on the local wireless network at a given time.
AT&T's HSPA 7.2 initiative will be supported by the deployment of additional backhaul capacity to cell sites, adding capacity to support the 3G network. AT&T also said it plans to add approximately 2,000 new cell sites to its network by the end of the year. The HSPA 7.2 deployment will also increase access to AT&T's Wi-Fi network.
In addition, AT&T expects to have six HSPA 7.2-compatible smartphones in its device portfolio by the end of the year, as well as two new LaptopConnect cards.
"Our deployment of HSPA 7.2 and supporting backhaul connectivity will enable our customers to continue to ride the leading edge of emerging devices and thousands of mobile applications," John Stankey, president and CEO of AT&T Operations, said in a statement. "Our network is based on the predominant technology platform used by operators worldwide and has been tested by today's most popular devices. That experience gives us an important advantage in developing and deploying new technologies to meet customers' future needs."
HSPA 7.2 is part of the 3G Partnership Project family of technologies, which include GSM and UMTS. Emerging LTE technology is also part of the 3GPP technology road map, allowing AT&T's network to offer backward compatibility, or the ability for users with qualifying devices to seamlessly switch among 4G LTE, 3G and 2G service areas to maintain the fastest-available connection.