AT&T Inc. will complete its wireless network upgrade to High Speed Uplink Packet Access (HSUPA) by the middle of 2008, it said Wednesday. The upgrade will make for consistent 3G network uplink speeds of 600kbps and 1,400kbps, and uplink speeds ranging from 500kbps to 800kbps.
The upgrade is part of the companys wireless expansion plans, which also include rolling out 3G to more than 80 additional cities in the United States through the course of the year. The planned expansion is expected to deliver AT&T 3G services to nearly 350 U.S. markets total by the end of 2008, including all of the top 100 U.S. cities. The initiative will require the rollout of more than 1,500 additional cell sites nationwide, but no statements were made as to the cost of the build.
While the HSPA speeds are still less than the 1mbps downlink speeds typically considered to be true broadband, Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO for AT&T’s wireless unit, said the faster uplink speeds allow AT&T’s HSUPA-enabled laptop users to more quickly send large files and take full advantage of the latest interactive Internet and business applications. In general, AT&T is supporting user demand for mobile social networking, live video and large business files, he said.
Eventually, broadband data services will be supported on AT&Ts yet-to-be-built LTE network, while the 3G network will be used for lower-bandwidth needs and voice. Industry insiders expect to head more about AT&Ts plans for 4G and LTE upon the completion of the 700MHz spectrum auction, going on now, in which AT&T is a bidder for the broadband-ready airwaves freed up by the move to digital television. For now, de la Vega said only, “We’re also planning for the future by establishing a clear path to a 4G network that will meet the needs of our customers for years to come.
AT&T Inc. www.att.com