updated 12:00 am EST, Sat March 13, 2010
ATT's De la Vega still expects 21Mbps 3G
AT&T will still implement 21Mbps 3G on its network on its way to 4G, the company's Mobility chief Ralph de la Vega said in an interview late Thursday. The provider had late last year said it would skip HSPA+ to make a more direct leap, but de la Vega now sees the advanced 3G reaching "certain locations" before 4G becomes widespread. He didn't yet have information for FierceWireless as to which areas would get the faster treatment.
The technology is a possibly vital stopgap for AT&T as it would help minimize any perceived gap between itself and Verizon when the latter's LTE-based 4G network goes live later this year. As we tested last year, HSPA+ can realistically provide at least 6.8Mbps downstream and 2.5Mbps upstream, or enough to sit roughly in the middle of Verizon's early 4G estimates.
Using HSPA+ would also give AT&T a way of getting phones with very fast cellular connections sooner than it would otherwise. Where the first 4G phones won't be ready in earnest until 2011, companies like Infineon and Qualcomm should have HSPA+ chips ready for smartphones this year.