AT&T doubling 3G capacity

By , Network World |  Mobile & Wireless, 3g, AT&T

AT&T is doubling the capacity of its 3G high-speed packet access network to reach peak speeds of 3.6Mbps.

In an interview with Telephony Online, AT&T Mobility vice president of technology realization Scott McElroy said that the company is running trials of the upgraded 3G networks in two markets and plans to expand the upgrades across the network once the trials are completed.

AT&T's 3G network upgrade will likely be the last enhancement of AT&T's current HSPA network before the carrier switches to HSPA+, which Telephony Online says could triple peak network speeds. AT&T has also committed to shifting its online data services over to 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology in roughly two years.

AT&T officially finished building its 3G network last June just as Apple's iPhone 3G was coming to market. At the time, the company said that its HSPA network would deliver peak downlink speeds of up to 1.7Mbps. However, the network's speeds have proven controversial for AT&T, as both the carrier and Apple have been sued for allegedly delivering data to the iPhone at speeds that have fallen short of those promised in marketing campaigns.

AT&T first began deploying its 3G network and services in 2004 when it rolled out a 220K to 320Kbps Wideband Code Division Multiple Access service to four U.S. markets. Between 2005 and 2008, the company has invested nearly US$20 billion in network upgrades that have helped transition its wireless network to 3G services.

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