T-Mobile, AT&T make HSPA 7.2 announcements

T-Mobile USA announced it has finished rolling out a higher speed version of HSPA (High Speed Packet Access), known as HSPA 7.2 that supports theoretical speeds of 7.2 Mbps. The operator also announced it now covers more than 200 million people.

The news came just hours before Google introduced the Nexus One handset, which will be sold unlocked for $529 and for $179 with a T-Mobile contract. The Nexus One supports HSPA 7.2 as do other Android devices T-Mobile is selling, including the Motorola Cliq and T-Mobile My Touch. T-Mobile also expects to begin deploying HSPA+ with theoretical downlink speeds of 21 Mbps sometime in 2010 and a jump to 4G technology in a relatively quick time frame.

Interestingly, AT&T Mobility also announced  that it too had deployed HSPA 7.2 at all of its 3G cell sites but that customers wouldn't see the higher speeds until AT&T combines the new technology with enhanced cell site backhaul connections over the course of 2010 and 2011. AT&T is in the midst of this second initiative to dramatically increase the number of high-speed backhaul connections to cell sites, primarily with fiber-optic connections, adding capacity from cell sites to the AT&T backbone network, the operator said.

"We anticipate that the majority of our mobile data traffic will be carried over the expanded fiber-based, HSPA 7.2-capable backhaul by the end of this year, with deployment continuing to expand in 2011," AT&T said in a release.

AT&T's data crunch woes have been well documented as iPhone and other smartphone users deluge the network, likely prompting the operator to move faster with HSPA 7.2. The company previously said that it planned to deploy HSPA 7.2 in 25 of the country's 30 largest markets this year, with upgrades in place in 90 percent of its 3G footprint by the end of 2011. The company also plans to begin LTE trials this year, with larger deployments coming in 2011.

For more:
- check out this Computerworld article
- read this release from AT&T

Related articles:
T-Mobile upgrades 3G footprint to HSPA 7.2
AT&T starting HSPA upgrade in six cities
AT&T & LTE vs. T-Mobile & HSPA+ = Fight!
T-Mobile's Ray promises national HSPA+ deployment by mid-2010
T-Mobile USA to boost 3G network speeds to 21 Mbps