Last week, AT&T Mobility announced a major expansion of their 3G broadband mobile network (as covered by Om). In summary, they are planning on expanding their 3G network to 80 new cities, are going to a technology called HSUPA this year, and are looking at Long-Term Evolution (LTE) in long term planning for their wireless network.To sort out all this alphabet soup, lets take it one point at a time…
- 3G network expansion. AT&T currently offers HSDPA (their current 3G Network technology) to a limited area of the United States. As of this announcement, they’ll be drastically expanding this to 80 new cities, bringing the total to around 360 metropolitan areas.
- High Speed Uplink Package Access (HSUPA) adoption. This will be the United States’ first network of this type and will allow super-fast upload (ranging from 600 and 1,400Kbps) and download (ranging from 500 and 800 Kpbs ) speeds. In a few words, AT&T is upgrading 3G network speeds for those of you fortunate enough to be within AT&T’s 3G footprint. This will be welcome news for those who use cellular network cards in their laptops for mobile broadband Internet access. The speeds AT&T is rolling out are faster than EV-DO, which is currently offered in the US by Verizon Wireless and Sprint, in most cases.
- Long-Term Evolution (LTE) on the horizon. LTE is going to be the next thing in wireless broadband for GSM networks. Verizon Wireless is also looking at LTE for their 4G wireless broadband, so AT&T jumping on the LTE bandwagon is of no surprise. Lets just hope the US LTE networks are standardized with the European networks so if you travel abroad, you can take your handset and have high speed data access where ever you go.
All this means AT&T will have a far-reaching high speed wireless network footprint. Mobile access to the Internet is a great concept, but at this point in time, mobile data users are being forced to pay too much for these data plans. We’re happy AT&T and other mobile carriers have been investing loads of money in building out their ultra-fast wireless data networks.The fact is, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and AT&T competing is welcome news for web workers. This cut-throat competition will ultimately drive down costs as high speed networks spread to more geographic areas.To many, current broadband pricing is simply out of reach. Having monthly data access cost more than DSL or cable modem seems ludicrous.Additionally, we would also hope increased competition would encourage Verizon Wireless to take off their 5GB cap on monthly bandwidth.
(Image credit: smith on Flickr)