ATT today announced details of its rollout plans for High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) 7.2 technology, which will provide a considerable speed boost to the company's 3G mobile broadband network. More info:
Supporting this HSPA 7.2 initiative is ATT's ongoing deployment of additional backhaul capacity to cell sites. These backhaul connections add critical capacity to the network to support today?s unprecedented growth in mobile data traffic as well as the future demands of next-generation 4G networks.
AT&T plans to begin deployment of HSPA 7.2 in six major U.S. cities, including bCharlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles and Miami, with initial service availability expected in these markets by the end of the year. All told, the company plans to deploy HSPA 7.2 in 25 of the nation?s 30 largest markets by the end of 2010, and to reach about 90 percent of its existing 3G network footprint with HSPA 7.2 by the end of 2011.
The upgraded network platform allows for theoretical peak speeds of 7.2Mbps. Typical real-world downlink and uplink speeds experienced by customers with upgraded 3G will be less than the theoretical peak and will vary based on a number of factors, including location, device, and overall traffic on the local wireless network at a given time.
The AT&T rollout of HSPA 7.2 will be matched with the availability of multiple compatible wireless handsets and devices. The company expects to have six HSPA 7.2-compatible smartphones in its device portfolio by the end of the year, as well as two new LaptopConnect cards. This wide range of options will enable customers to quickly take full advantage of HSPA 7.2 speeds. In contrast, LTE devices are still in development.
Other key projects include:
* An initiative to substantially expand the wireless spectrum serving 3G customers in hundreds of markets across the country, using high-quality 850 MHz spectrum. This additional spectrum expands overall network capacity and improves in-building reception. Deployments of this 850 MHz spectrum are about 90 percent complete today, with local roll-outs recently completed in New York, Atlanta and Houston.
* Addition of about 2,000 new cell sites to our network in 2009, expanding service to new cities and improving coverage in other areas.
* Enabling widespread access to our Wi-Fi network ? the largest in the country with more than 20,000 hotspots in all 50 states ? to qualifying customers, allowing them to take advantage of the best available AT&T mobile broadband connection.
* Preparation for field trials of 4G LTE wireless networks next year, with deployment planned to follow in 2011. This schedule aligns with industry expectations of when a wide variety of compatible 4G wireless devices will be available.