AT&T has unveiled plans to upgrade its mobile network to deliver considerably faster mobile broadband speeds and so improve the quality of delivery of rich multimedia applications.
The network upgrade to High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) 7.2 technology is to commence later in 2009 with completion expected in 2011. The move is part of AT&T’s plan for continued investments to maintain what it claims is the current fastest 3G network in the
As its nomenclature suggests, the upgraded network platform could allow for theoretical peak speeds of 7.2 Mbps. HSPA 7.2 technology will be deployed widely in the network, with the benefits of the network upgrade to be announced on a local basis as the faster speeds are turned up. Initially, AT&T will introduce multiple HSPA 7.2-compatible laptop cards and smartphones.
The speed upgrade is one of several ongoing initiatives to expand and enhance AT&T’s mobile broadband service. AT&T’s strategy is to boost the speed of its mobile broadband network and offer a wide variety of devices to take advantage of it well in advance of 2011-2012, when most industry observers expect 4G LTE networks and device availability to scale. The company plans to begin LTE trials in 2010, with deployment beginning in 2011.
In addition to the planned speed upgrade, AT&T is to enrich its mobile broadband coverage by nearly doubling the wireless spectrum dedicated to 3G in most metropolitan areas to deliver stronger in-building reception and more overall network capacity. AT&T will also add new cell site backhaul connections to support the higher mobile broadband speeds enabled by HSPA 7.2 and LTE.
“We’re able to deliver upgrades in mobile broadband speed and performance with our existing technology platform,” said Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. “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.”