Print 10 comment(s) - last by toyotabedzrock.. on Jan 10 at 2:30 PM

More backhaul connections are still needed before faster data speeds are available

AT&T catches a lot of heat from its customers and its competition for the state of its network in many locations. AT&T blames some of the issues with dropped calls and slow data speeds on iPhone users who consume lots of bandwidth.

In 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.

The first 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 expedite 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 2011."

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 available.

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I guess I'm the minority
By JeffCos on 1/6/2010 12:47:59 PM , Rating: 2
I'm an iPhone 3G user living in Northern NJ and I work directly across the Hudson River from NYC. I very rarely have dropped calls or bad service. Maybe my experience is atypical, but I'm perfectly happy with my iPhone (with the exception of flash player and a removable battery, that is)

RE: I guess I'm the minority
By AstroCreep on 1/6/2010 3:52:44 PM , Rating: 2
Same here in regards to the service/equipment quality.
I live in Akron, OH and work in Cleveland, OH, and most of the time I have a good/excellent signal. Color me surprised, as I was very leary of leaving Verizon this past summer. But this has been a positive switch for having some buddies who work for AT&T who *ahem* sweetened my departure helped a bit. ;)

As for the iPhone, I love it. It's a slick little device that I've gotten more miles out of than my old Samsung i760 (WinMo 6.1). My only real qualms with it are that it needs rebooted as frequently as (if not more) my old WinMo device, and that it's not as "Power User Friendly" as many other smart phones out there unless you jail-break it.

RE: I guess I'm the minority
By TO on 1/6/2010 5:11:08 PM , Rating: 2
I'm across the river on 39th st. 80% of the time phone reverts to Edge, while experiencing a 60% call drop rate.

RE: I guess I'm the minority
By LANDRY1986 on 1/6/10, Rating: -1
By Boboshisho on 1/6/2010 10:49:32 AM , Rating: 2
I sure am glad that they upgraded. Now if only they would roll out 3G service to anywhere but the biggest cities. I can dream, right?

RE: 3G
By chruschef on 1/6/2010 8:04:28 PM , Rating: 2
I live quite a way from any large city, I have 5 bars of 3G at all times.

By Bateluer on 1/6/2010 11:26:42 AM , Rating: 2
Once they lose the iPhone exclusive, their going to lose a lot of customers to competitors.

Possible bad idea
By toyotabedzrock on 1/10/2010 2:30:52 PM , Rating: 2
If the iPhone was causing bandwidth congestion problems, was it really a good idea to allow the newer faster version access to the higher speeds?

Why bother?
By Jackattak on 1/6/2010 11:55:02 AM , Rating: 1
Why bother upgrading their software when what they should be doing is upgrading their network?

There's no sense upgrading the software if users can't connect!

So the summary is....
By namechamps on 1/6/10, Rating: -1
"This is about the Internet.  Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis

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