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AT&T Ramping EDGE speeds for iPhone?

updated 10:40 am EDT, Tue June 5, 2007

ATT Ramps EDGE for iPhone

AT&T is launching an intense campaign to improve the quality of its cellular Internet speeds for the iPhone, claims an AT&T operations worker with access to internal documents. Nicknamed "Operation Fine Edge," a plan has reportedly been in progress for several weeks which is optimizing the company's EDGE mobile Internet access specifically to help Apple's upcoming device. The effort will retune many of the carrier's cell towers to place a greater priority on Internet access. In some cases, poorer towers are also receiving extra T1 network lines to prevent network congestion and ensure better minimum quality for the network. Customers should expect minimum speeds to double from 40Kbps to 80Kbps, the documents say.

If implemented on schedule, Fine Edge will reportedly be complete by June 15th, finishing exactly two weeks before the official June 29th debut of the iPhone. The timing will ensure that the network is ready for the expected surge of Internet use as well as fill in relative weak spots for the EDGE network. The upgrade isn't phone-specific and should benefit any phone on the network.

Concerns have been raised, however, about the shift in direction for AT&T's cellphone strategy. The brunt of the provider's network upgrades had been devoted to its third-generation network based on the HSDPA standard until the introduction of the iPhone, according to reports. Shifting attention to the earlier EDGE infrastructure -- considered "2.5G" -- has given other devices a setback by temporarily limiting coverage. AT&T claims that HSDPA can reach a real-world peak of 800Kbps, four times the 200Kbps speed of EDGE.

If true, the move also underscores complaints about the first version of the iPhone, which was criticized by analysts for lacking 3G despite its strong emphasis on Internet access. Jobs at the recent D: All Things Digital conference defended the choice, noting that Wi-Fi was increasingly widespread and far faster than even 3G. [via Gizmodo]

By Electronista Staff
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  1. starwarrior

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2006


    Million Dollar Reception

    I am with cingular in Destin Florida.

    I do not have one (million dollar home), but it is interesting to see the people with cel phones standing in the yards of their million dollare homes trying to get their cingular reception. It is good outside the neighbor hood.

    AT&T please fix this bare spot.

  1. bobolicious

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Aug 2002


    iPhone in Canada...?

    ...there is nothing on the website...?

  1. Guest

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 1999


    upgrade evidence?

    My usually strong EDGE coverage recently dropped back to GPRS for a few days, and is now back up to EDGE. Perhaps they just upgraded my local node here near Harrisonburg, VA.

  1. Fast iBook

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2003


    On wifi.

    I have fiber internet from verizon. It is hooked to a b/g router specifically used in FIOS installs. It gets 40+ mbps wireless speed in the LAN and 14-16/2 mbps on the WAN side. I think, since i do use wifi far far more than cingular's edge (i have a razr which uses edge for internet), it would make sense to get a phone that can do both, even if it's not 3g, because i'm usually at home when i need to use the internet. I'm not worried about edge speeds. It works fine for me, i just can't wait to get into a rich client like the iPhone with a full proper browser.

  1. iomatic

    Mac Elite

    Joined: Oct 1999



    All bandwidth is good bandwidth. We can use it all, as my Treo will attest.

    Next generation iPhone will be amazing, I'm sure.

  1. smokeonit

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2005



    HSDPA or also known as UMTS has a max bandwith of 7.2Mbit, not 800kbit as stated in the article...

    flavors of UMTS are:

    384kbit (original speed) 1.8Mbit 3.6Mbit 7.2Mbit 14.4Mbit (next future upgrade) possbile UMTS speeds in mid-term future:

    28.8Mbit 57.6Mbit 115.2Mbit

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