updated 12:40 pm EDT, Fri May 30, 2008
ATT 3G Upgrades Pay Off
AT&T's 3G upgrade plan is making its way through New York City and is more than delivering on advertised speed claims, according to reports circulating at BGR. After a series of rolling outages on Thursday, the carrier's HSPA network speed has now jumped from an average peak of 800Kbps to as much as 1.5Mbps, or slightly more than the 1.4Mbps promised by the company. The floor for performance has allegedly increased even further with regular minimums spiking from 500Kbps to 1.4Mbps.
Outages are spreading to the north of New York City and are likely a reflection of upgrades in those areas as well, according to extra reports.
While AT&T has heavily publicized the upgrades, the company hasn't said which regions will receive the upgrade first or whether the emphasis would be on upgrading the existing network or else expanding to fringe locations. It also suggests that the upgrade to the full HSPA spec will also improve speeds for more limited HSDPA devices, which are so far the only choice for all but a handful of PC data cards on AT&T's network.
Many note that the late June window for the most aggressive phase of AT&T's 3G rollout lines up with the anticipated release of a similarly 3G-capable iPhone the same month, suggesting the new upgrade is meant to help handle an increased data load from owners of the new handsets. The touchscreen device is expected to use just HSDPA but will have a newer chipset that theoretically tops out at 7.2Mbps, or twice the normal speed of HSDPA.
In spring 2007, AT&T followed a similar pattern of upgrades to its 2G EDGE network, pushing the speeds and coverage to near their real-world peak to ensure smoother data service before the initial wave of iPhone customers was online.