Love AT&T’s 3G network performance? Hate AT&T’s 3G network reliability and coverage? Right, us too. But, fear not, AT&T-fan. The No. 1 national wireless carrier has announced that they’ve got some massive 3G upgrades planned for 2008 – again. As expected, AT&T will be turning up the dial on their HSPA network and offering coverage in 80 new cities – bringing the grand total of HSPA-covered areas to 350.
The announcement times perfectly with the FCC’s approval of the AT&T acquisition of Aloha’s 12Mhz slice of the 700Mhz spectrum. AT&T has ear-marked this extra bandwidth for “broadcast video or for two-way communications such as voice, data or multicast content,” and expanding their 3G HSPA network falls directly in the “data” category. The network upgrade will bring 600Kbps to 1.4Mbps downlink speeds and 500Kbps to 800Kbps uplink speeds to even more parts of the country.
And, after most of AT&T’s network gets the HSPA-treatment, the AT&T 3G network will be ready for inevitable HSPA+ upgrades. Of course, all these upgrades are just milestones on the path towards AT&T’s eventual 4G LTE network rollout in 2009 at the earliest, with 2010/2011 being more realistic time-frames for a full commercial LTE network launch.
Is AT&T upgrading their 3G network to get ready for the 3G iPhone? Well, AT&T upgraded its EDGE network ahead of and during the iPhone’s initial launch. So, it wouldn’t be a far-stretch to think that AT&T is making sure its HSPA-ship is in shape before Apple bows the 3G iPhone sometime this year.
Read on for the full press release…
AT&T Plans Major Expansion of 3G Wireless Broadband Service in 2008
Company to Expand 3G Service to More Than 80 New Cities, Complete Upload Broadband Speed Enhancements
New Milestones Mark Next Step in Direction Toward Long-Term Evolution (LTE)
San Antonio, Texas, February 6, 2008
AT&T is casting a wider Net for mobile customers this year by building out its network to make catching a high speed wireless Web connection easier coast-to-coast.
AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) today announced highlights of the company’s 2008 wireless network expansion plans, including the deployment of third-generation (3G) wireless broadband service to more than 80 additional cities in the United States through the course of the year. The planned expansion is expected to deliver AT&T 3G services to nearly 350 leading U.S. markets by the end of 2008, including all of the top 100 U.S. cities. The 3G initiative will include the roll out of more than 1,500 additional cell sites nationwide.
Other plans for the new year include completion of the nation’s first High Speed Uplink Packet Access (HSUPA)-enabled network by the middle of the year. The AT&T 3G network now delivers typical downlink speeds ranging between 600 and 1,400 Kilobits per second (Kbps), as well as faster uplink speeds, ranging from 500 and 800 Kilobits per second (Kbps). The faster uplink speeds allow AT&T’s HSUPA-enabled laptop users to more quickly send large files and take full advantage of the latest interactive Internet and business applications.
The company’s wireless network is based on GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) technologies, the most open and widely used wireless network platform in the world, supporting 86 percent of the people worldwide who use wireless devices. This platform also positions AT&T to continually adopt next-generation technologies.
“Fast wireless broadband is the foundation for a whole range of new and emerging applications that our customers are adopting, including everything from social networking to sending live video and large business files,” said Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO for AT&T’s wireless unit. “With these aggressive initiatives, we’re expanding the scope and the speed of our 3G capabilities, connecting people with their world and enabling more customers to do more with their wireless devices, wherever they may be.
“We’re also planning for the future by establishing a clear path to a 4G network that will meet the needs of our customers for years to come,” said de la Vega.
The deployment of HSUPA this year is the next step in the evolution of AT&T’s 3G network, with further enhancements and speed boosts expected in the near future. This year’s HSUPA deployment will complete the transition of the AT&T 3G network to High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) standards, marking the only full transition by any wireless provider in the United States to this latest generation of wireless broadband capabilities.
As customer needs continue to evolve and grow in the future, AT&T’s global leadership in deployment of GSM technologies positions the company to continuously evolve its network to meet those needs. The evolution towards HSPA+ and LTE technologies will enable the company to continue to deliver higher speeds and capacity in the years to come.
“From the beginning, our wireless network has been designed with the future in mind,” said de la Vega. “The capabilities of 3G standards will continue to expand over the next several years, enabling us to stay well ahead of our customers’ broadband needs. And looking even further into the future, our existing technologies provide the ideal platform for a smooth transition to next-generation platforms.”
AT&T’s GSM technology also offers customers the largest international roaming footprint. AT&T devices work in 196 countries and regions — accounting for more than 90 percent of the planet. All GSM customers in those countries can roam on the AT&T network in the United States as well.