AT&T Mobility said HSPA technology--which provides theoretical peak downlink speeds of 7.2 Mbps--will become available in six cities by the end of the year.
The operator is upgrading the cities of Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles and Miami and reiterated its plans to test LTE in 2010 with commercial deployments of the 4G technology happening in 2011.
AT&T's HSPA announcement coincides with the carrier's acknowledgment that it is straining to keep pace with the rapidly growing demand for mobile data, largely fueled by Apple's iPhone.
By the end of 2010, AT&T said it will have deployed its HSPA upgrade in 25 of the country's 30 largest markets, and that the upgrade will be in place in 90 percent of its 3G footprint by the end of 2011. AT&T also said it would add backhaul capacity to its cell sites while it upgrades its HSPA technology, and that it would have six HSPA 7.2-compatible smartphones available by year-end, as well as two new LaptopConnect cards.
Separately, AT&T has begun switching on 3G services in 850 MHz spectrum in certain markets across the country to boost coverage and capacity, notably in Atlanta, New York City and Houston.
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