AT&T outlines plans for increasing HSPA data speeds and bandwidth

AT&T Mobility said it will begin upgrading its HSPA network to allow for theoretical peak downlink speeds of 7.2 Mbps starting later this year, and expects to complete the work by 2011. The carrier will begin testing LTE in 2010 with deployment beginning in 2011.

The carrier said it will double the amount of 850 MHz wireless spectrum used for its 3G network in most metropolitan areas, and will offer multiple HSPA 7.2 Mbps-compatible laptop cards and smartphones beginning later this year. In addition, it will add more cell sites--2,100 across the United States--and increase its bandwidth in its cell sites by adding fiber-optic connections between the sites and its IP backbone network.

It desperately needs more bandwidth as iPhone users have deluged its existing network with data traffic. Moreover, the operator is positioning itself as the smartphone leader and will aggressively subsidize laptops this summer across the U.S.

The operator also said it will begin trialing 3G Microcell offerings, which use femtocells to enhance in-building wireless coverage.

The company said all of these projects fit within AT&T's previously outlined capital expenditure plan of $17 billion to $18 billion for the year.

For more:
- see this release

Related articles:
AT&T invests in HSPA upgrades ahead of LTE
AT&T to invest more than $17B in 2009, expand 3G network
AT&T adds 2.1M subs; wireless revenue up
AT&T sells 2.4M iPhone 3Gs in 3Q, but margins suffer