Print 25 comment(s) - last by mcnabney.. on May 29 at 1:09 AM

Network will now be more mobile broadband ready

AT&T, now the nation's second largest cellular network after Verizon, today announced plans to upgrade its 3G networks nationwide.  The company provides service to over 78.2 million customers in the U.S.

Most of the company's network is currently based on the High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) technology, built upon a 3G UMTS network.  Currently, AT&T uses HSPA speeds of 1.8 or 3.6 Mbit/s (downlink and uplink), but with the upgrade it will be capable of 7.2 Mbit/s (uplink and downlink).

Starting in 2010, the company also plans on rolling out 4G LTE trial deployments.  By 2011 to 2012, it expects this technology to be standard.  In the meantime, AT&T plans to provide a boost to its mobile broadband offerings by doubling the wireless spectrum it dedicates to 3G in most metropolitan areas.  It also plans on adding thousands of new cell site backhaul connections to help support the broadband network.

The investments will come as part of the $17B to $18B USD that the company plans on spending on new capital development in 2009.

AT&T has seen its subscriber numbers soar with the addition of the chic Apple iPhone to its fold.  However, it has also suffered from service problems, due to, among other factors, the increased use of mobile video from smartphones, chiefly the iPhone.  With a new iPhone reportedly set to launch this summer, it’s hoping to have its network rise to the occasion and be able to provide enough bandwidth to adequately support new subscribers.

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nothing but marketing hype
By kknd1967 on 5/27/2009 5:04:47 PM , Rating: 5
I don't care whether it is 2x or 10x peak speed. As long as there is stupid monthly data limitation (5GB I think), it is a shame to be called broadband.

That is why I use WiMAX unlimited mobile plan. No data volume limitation. Not to mention the true end-to-end 4~8Mbps speed beats all these "fastest or largest 3G network" by Nx. I only hope their national coverage can be finished soon.

RE: nothing but marketing hype
By Souka on 5/27/2009 5:30:32 PM , Rating: 3
I agree....."more bandwidth" is such a farce when they don't modify the cap.

My Comcast went from 6Mb/s down, 1Mb/s up to something around 18Mb/s down, 6Mb/s up... but they didn't change the 250GB/month cap, nor have they yet to provide a method for their customers to know how much of the monthly allowance has been used....

RE: nothing but marketing hype
By Reflex on 5/27/2009 5:39:38 PM , Rating: 2
Non issue for those of us with business class service. No cap on my Comcast, no cap on my Verizon data plan.

RE: nothing but marketing hype
By kknd1967 on 5/27/2009 6:25:14 PM , Rating: 3
of course, as they charge more for business class plan (around $100/mo I think?)
This is a little funny, particularly for large corporations, as I think typically employees should not watch too much Youtube or Hulu using their corporate mobile devices, nor should they download many MP3, for non-work-related purposes :p

RE: nothing but marketing hype
By 9nails on 5/27/2009 6:30:13 PM , Rating: 2
True. When you have no limits in the use of technology you tend to use and enjoy it. But when there's artificial caps on use, the technology is of less value and interest. This is what AT&T is failing to recognize. By placing plans and limits, intended to generate more income for the company, they are in-turn making their technology more difficult for consumers to use. I hope that they try to do more than just upgrade their bandwidth; for speed alone will not attract customers. You have to first satisfy the terms of use before they can draw customers back. I'm an AT&T Wireless customer and do plan to switch to another carrier if they do not improve their terms of use and fees this year.

RE: nothing but marketing hype
By StevoLincolnite on 5/28/2009 12:19:10 AM , Rating: 2
Download caps have a positive side effect as well, if you have a network where back haul isn't up to scratch, or suffers from allot of congestion issues, placing download caps will relieve that stress, providing a higher quality connection for everyone till the network gets upgraded.

Wireless 3G networks is a shared medium, the more people on it and downloading the worst it's performance becomes.

RE: nothing but marketing hype
By CZroe on 5/28/2009 2:13:19 AM , Rating: 2
This is bunk. It also removes INCENTIVE to upgrade service on the back-end.

RE: nothing but marketing hype
By AnnihilatorX on 5/28/2009 6:00:34 AM , Rating: 2
I agree, it's a lazy selfish reason to say I am not upgrading my infrastructure, yet trying to subscribe more customers in the process.

By StevoLincolnite on 5/28/2009 7:34:35 AM , Rating: 2
I never stated they SHOULDNT upgrade there infrastructure, I'm just merely stating the side effects of implementing the Download caps and why.

RE: nothing but marketing hype
By CommodoreVic20 on 5/28/2009 1:15:09 PM , Rating: 2
The CAPS remove the incentive to upgrade the infrastructure. Isn't that obvious?

RE: nothing but marketing hype
By mcnabney on 5/29/2009 1:09:16 AM , Rating: 2
You have no idea what you are talking about. Wireless companies are only permitted to own 'so-much' spectrum in any market. The quantity of spectrum that the provider can legally use is the limiting value . If they only own 30mhz of spectrum for data that means that each tower (actually, pair of towers for CDMA2000/WCDMA) is limited to providing only that much transfer ability at any given time for all users communicating with that tower.
Wireless will never be able to compete with wired. FiOS and Doc3 can play with a ghz or more potentially, and that can be enhanced by adding more switches to service fewer doors. Wireless is measured in mhz and is limited by the tower.

By deltadeltadelta on 5/28/2009 6:00:31 PM , Rating: 1
I am no fan of Comcast, but I would be hard pressed to use 250 GB/mo. I mean that is big quota.

RE: nothing but marketing hype
By inperfectdarkness on 5/27/2009 7:01:36 PM , Rating: 2
unfortunately...with only 2 metropolitan areas they service--they're not going to get my business.

RE: nothing but marketing hype
By Oregonian2 on 5/27/2009 11:11:12 PM , Rating: 2
But some folk live in those two places (as it happens I live in one). Our area is one that is known for going for the bleeding edge of technology up front -- lots of high tech folk, including Intel's largest center in terms of employee count (Metro Portland). Although... Verizon has declared us too rural and is abandoning all of Oregon and Washington state (and other areas) for TV, FiOS, etc sorts of services that they are now providing (selling us to Frontier) -- so although Verizon wireless will "stay" here, many of us aren't going to be terribly happy with the Verizon name due to their abandonment of us. is "supposed" to be wildly supporting other areas "soon", but the state of the financing banks, etc, I think has slowed things down a "little".

I wonder...
By Souka on 5/27/2009 4:42:23 PM , Rating: 3
I wonder if they'll continue to block SlingPlayer for the iPhone due to "use of large amounts of wireless network capacity"

The irony being that you can still run the SlingPlayer on Blackberries and Windows phones...

AT&T wireless growth has been significantly helped by the sales of iPhones...yet they block people using them. Kinda like Vista Ultimate costing a premium, promising to deliver extra stuff, but didn't.


My $.02 of dribble...

RE: I wonder...
By AEvangel on 5/27/2009 5:51:29 PM , Rating: 4
The reason is cause Apple wanted them to since by using slingbox you are cutting into any possible profits Apple might make from you buying shows and movies through itunes.

You see that is how Apple rolls...they are all about milking every penny for their users.

RE: I wonder...
By CZroe on 5/28/2009 2:16:19 AM , Rating: 2
Not Apple... AT&T sells IPTV. AT&T is planning on selling MOBILE TV as well. It makes sense... not everyone lives in their AT&T U-verse coverage areas, but a whole lot more live in their Edge/3G coverage areas.

When will they announce....
By Cr0nJ0b on 5/27/2009 6:35:20 PM , Rating: 2
I keep hearing about upgrades to 3G or whatever...What I'd really like to hear is this...

"AT&T announced that it will upgrade it's current cellular network to clean up all of the dead spots and poor signal quality across the country. As the country's number 2 carrier, AT&T has suffered severe network issues in many of it's key service areas, especially in southern california. With this announcement, AT&T is throwing down the gauntlet to Verizon. AT&T's CTO and VP of networks said 'we will be the most reliable service in country when these upgrades are completed or I will quit my job and join the peace corp!'. Verizon was asked for comment, but the representative would only offer a smug look and quiet smile"

I can live with my download speeds, but I can't live with this crappy service and dropped calls down every F%$*ing freeway in LA.

RE: When will they announce....
By teldar on 5/27/2009 10:03:16 PM , Rating: 2
I've not had ATT but my brother and cousin both have had them. They have both left ATT for the terrible terrible reception everywhere. My cousin only lives in a 1.5M person city and always complained about the coverage. The irony? It's columbus, oh which is supposed to be one of the roll out areas for ATT 4G.

RE: When will they announce....
By Aquila76 on 5/27/2009 10:22:39 PM , Rating: 2
Happened to me wit AT&T in MA, also. How can a carrier have no signal on parts of 128? Verizon for me, just wish they didn't cripple most of their phones.

By gevorg on 5/27/2009 3:55:13 PM , Rating: 3
I'm pretty happy with current 1.8/3.6Mbit speeds, what they need to greatly improve on is latency and 3G coverage.

RE: Latency!
By Doormat on 5/27/2009 8:48:40 PM , Rating: 2
Remember that with the current iPhone and other HSDPA products, the upstream is still UMTS, which has fairly high latency. HSPA cuts down on this latency, so while downstream latency remains the same the upstream latency gets cut. You should see cell network latency drop by about 30-40% for HSPA over HSDPA w/ UMTS.

I have been an AT&T customer for over 9 years...
By sxr7171 on 5/27/2009 8:42:48 PM , Rating: 3
And guess what? I think Verizon will kick these monkeys to the curb.

Watch next year as the iPhone LTE arrives and it will be on Verizon. I will switch so fast that AT&T won't remember a trace of me. I'm counting the days.

By deltadeltadelta on 5/28/2009 6:02:35 PM , Rating: 2
No cell company is perfect. But AT&T is just dismal.

Welcome to the 21st century!
By bigboxes on 5/27/09, Rating: 0
"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook

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