updated 04:25 pm EDT, Thu September 16, 2010
ATT HSPA Plus to have real 7Mbps speeds, wide use
AT&T's planned HSPA+ 3G upgrade will hit more areas and deliver much faster real-world speeds than expected, the company's operations president John Stankey said in a presentation at a Bank of America/Merrill Lynch telecoms event today. Initially characterized as hitting only strategic locations, the faster service should now reach most areas and hit a practical 7Mbps speed when its network is unhindered. The benchmark is roughly in the middle of Verizon's estimated 4G speeds, although its LTE-based hardware will give lower latency and higher peak speeds of 12Mbps.
Stankey also reiterated AT&T's own LTE plans and said it should have commercial service live by mid-2011. Baltimore and Dallas are already in trial runs.
He added that the company is still working to improve the infrastructure supporting the existing 7.2Mbps HSPA service in the US, including moving to 1Gbps Ethernet to handle the wired component of the workload. The well-known trouble spot of San Francisco will have had 600 new carrier nodes by the start of October, he said. However, the company is still facing shortages in the equipment it's using to make upgrades and is waiting on $300 million in parts.
AT&T is facing dual pressures with its network upgrades. It both wants to mitigate the early advantage of Verizon's 4G service, which launches CDMA iPhone entices customers to Verizon. [via FierceWireless]