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Summary:

A news item yesterday on iLounge reports AT&T will be upgrading its existing 3G network to provide a “significantly faster” mobile Internet service. The communications giant is planning to double its current 3G network speeds and expand its cell coverage. From AT&T’s own press release: The […]

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A news item yesterday on iLounge reports AT&T will be upgrading its existing 3G network to provide a “significantly faster” mobile Internet service. The communications giant is planning to double its current 3G network speeds and expand its cell coverage.

From AT&T’s own press release:

The upgrade to High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) 7.2 technology is part of AT&T’s plan for continued investments to deliver the nation’s best mobile broadband experience — the ideal combination of speed, coverage and best device line-up. AT&T today has the nation’s fastest 3G network and has attracted more than twice the number of smartphone users than any other competitor.

While the expanded cell coverage (AT&T is deploying over 2,000 new cell sites throughout the country) will hopefully reduce the number of dropped or failed calls for iPhone users, the improvements in mobile broadband speeds appear to be limited to larger cities and other metropolitan areas.

Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets, said, “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.”

The new upgraded network could, according to AT&T, allow theoretical peak-speeds of 7.2Mbps. For those of us hoping to see bandwidth-hungry applications and services (such as HD YouTube video down/uploads, video calling or TV/Movie downloading) on the next-generation iPhone, this sounds like a step in the right direction, though AT&T does carefully point out that:

Typical real-world downlink and uplink speeds experienced by customers with upgraded 3G will be less than the theoretical peak and will vary based on a number of factors, including location, device, and overall traffic on the local network at a given time.

Still, the upgrades are sorely needed and should be warmly welcomed by iPhone customers. A word of warning, though: Despite the announcement yesterday, AT&T doesn’t expect to see these upgrades completed and fully deployed until the end of 2011. So why announce it now? Well, it’s exciting news for its existing customers, and probably has nothing at all to do with the fact that a great many of its iPhone customers’ contracts are about to expire…

  1. We would just like to have cell service, AT&T. 98619

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  2. chicago att cell user Thursday, May 28, 2009

    Let’s see, I spend a lot of time in downtown Chicago and often can’t get any data coverage with the current 3G, so if I do the math 2 times faster than zero is still ZERO!

    Hey ATT, how about just getting what you have to work in the 3rd largest city in the country! Cruel marketing ploy to get more users or to get current users to renew. If the iPhone were made available on another network I would switch without hesitation.

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  3. Hey ATT how about getting us 3G first. Still on EDGE in Greenfield, MA.

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  4. Luke Sullivan Wednesday, June 10, 2009

    I have AT&T and the claims that they make are 100% true. AT&T is the largest wireless network in the nation and i have had NO dropped calles, Almost full service everywhere, and when I dont have 3G, I have EDGE alsmost always, which is very fast and comes pretty close to 3G. AT&T is expanding their network at an extremely rapid rate and they are upgading to LTE in 2011. But i do understand that depending on your area, you could have worse service than i do.

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