While many AT&T customers are enjoying the No. 1 US carrier’s HSDPA (HSPA in some areas) 3G network, AT&T’s 3G speeds are still relatively slow compared to their counterparts in Europe and Asia. Following AT&T’s HSUPA upgrade to their 3G network this year (creating a true HSPA network), Big Blue has announced on Wednesday that it plans to roll out its HSPA release 7 network in 2009. The new 3G technology will apparently boost data speeds to 20Mbps – more than 5 times what current AT&T 3G users can expect today.
AT&T’s mobility chief Ralph de la Vega also mentioned that engineers have succeeded in getting HSPA to hum along at 7.2Mbps in AT&T laboratories. Enabling 7.2Mbps HSPA would effectively double AT&T’s current 3G data network throughput, and should make a good bridge to HSPA release 7.
The network upgrades will need little to no hardware modifications, so we can expect the network upgrades to roll-out with little hassle. The HSPA upgrades are shaping up to solidify AT&T’s plans to introduce their 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) data network in a few years. Ralph de la Vega said that AT&T has a “a clear and logical path” to lighting off their LTE network in 2010, enabling 100Mbps data speeds.
“LTE will allow for backwards compatibility to GSM and HSPA, which is a great benefit to customers. And our path forward to LTE allows us to get there step-by-step, with interim steps that will deliver more and more speeds everyday.”
Bring it on, AT&T. We can’t wait for
7.2Mbps 20Mbps HSPA!