updated 11:25 am EDT, Wed May 21, 2008
ATT Full 3G by Late June
AT&T will have a complete HSPA-based 3G cellular network by the end of June, the company has announced on Wednesday. The carrier plans to have added the faster, more upload-driven HSUPA component of the spec to six of its remaining 3G markets by the end of next month, giving those areas DSL-like access speeds over wireless: users can anticipate real-world speeds of as much as 1.4Mbps downstream and between 500Kbps to 800Kbps for uploads, AT&T claims.
The company also notes that it will have 3G for nearly all its markets by the end of the year, with 275 individual networks already supporting the standard and 350 supporting the faster data access by the end of the year. Most of these territories already include HSUPA, and all new territories will receive the newer standard as their 3G services go online.
This expansion is seen as crucial to the company's long-term future by the provider, which reiterates its plans to introduce even more advanced specifications. The company expects to launch HSPA+ in 2009 that will provide 20Mbps 3G downloads through a software upgrade and will ultimately replace its network with a 4G service based on Long Term Evolution, a 100Mbps format that will also be used by Alltel and Verizon.
The timing of AT&T's launch brings the expanded coverage to the US just as Apple is expected to unveil a 3G-capable iPhone at WWDC. However, the future cellphone is believed to use an Infineon chipset that only supports the earlier HSDPA component of the HSPA standard, limiting the advantages of the rollout to faster downloads and expanded coverage areas.