May of 2009, AT&T announced that it would begin upgrading
its 3G network in some areas to new HSPA 7.2 Mbps speeds. AT&T
also said at the time that it planned to double the spectrum that it
allowed for 3G service in some areas.
six cities in the country to get the new faster HSPA 7.2 speeds
from AT&T were unveiled in September 2009 and included Charlotte,
Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, and Miami. Today AT&T has
announced that its software update of all nationwide 3G cell towers
to support the HSPA 7.2 service has been completed. The software
update has the nationwide network of AT&T towers ready for the
faster data speeds.
AT&T reports that it decided to
the roll out of the software update to provide better customer
experience and improve consistency in data sessions. The software
update sets the table for the 7.2Mbps speeds to come later in 2010
and in 2011 as additional backhaul connections are added to support
the higher speeds.
"We are focused on providing our
customers with the industry's best combination of mobile broadband
speed, performance, coverage and available devices," said John
Stankey, president and CEO, AT&T Operations, who announced the
network updates at the Citigroup 20th Annual Global Entertainment,
Media & Telecommunications Conference today. "As we light up
new backhaul connections across the country, we're able to deliver a
meaningful 3G speed boost for millions of customers who are already
using HSPA 7.2-compatible devices. At the same time, we're also
looking to the future with these backhaul enhancements, which will
support our move to next-generation LTE technology starting in
AT&T says that it already has ten HSPA 7.2
devices on the market today including the highly popular iPhone 3GS
along with nine others. More HSPA 7.2 handsets are in the works for
2010. The backhaul updates for the AT&T towers are a key part of
the transition to LTE that is coming as well.
"Even as we
look forward to LTE, 3G will be the predominant mobile broadband
network technology worldwide for smartphones for the next few years,"
said Stankey. "AT&T's strategy will deliver faster 3G speeds
over the next two years, while also allowing us to build the
foundation for the LTE future."
AT&T still plans to
begin trials of LTE service in 2010 and will begin LTE deployment in
2011. With the six cities previously mentioned being the first to get
the HSPA 7.2 speed upgrade that includes the additional backhaul
connections needed for LTE, odds are these will also be the LTE
testing areas and among the first to get LTE service when it is