AT&T now covers 80% of its network with HSPA+

AT&T (NYSE:T) CTO John Donovan said the carrier has upgraded 80 percent of its network to HSPA+ technology, and is trying to keep pace with a mobile data traffic surge of 3,000 percent over the past three years.

Speaking to developers at the Sencha Conference in San Francisco, Donovan said the volume of data traffic AT&T is transmitting has slowed in recent months, but is still growing at 30 times what it was three years ago. "If you look in absolute numbers, it's still a tremendous growth rate," Donovan said, according to IDG News Service.

In addition to adding faster HSPA+ radio technology, AT&T has been upgrading fiber backhaul links to its cell sites, Donovan said. The carrier's 80 percent figure is notable because T-Mobile USA has been rolling out HSPA+ on its network and marketing the service as "4G"--something AT&T has taken exception to.

T-Mobile plans to cover 100 markets and 200 million POPs with HSPA+ by year-end. AT&T, for its part, expects to cover 250 million POPs with HSPA+ by year-end. Further, AT&T plans to launch LTE service by the middle of next year and cover 70-75 million POPs with LTE by the end of 2011.

Speaking separately at the Web 2.0 Summit, Donovan reiterated AT&T's opposition to net neutrality for wireless networks. "We don't want to be the policer," Donovan said, according to PC Magazine. "We're all for an open Internet. But when we find a situation where an individual has compromised an experience, or an application, we want the ability to manage the network."

For more:
- see this IDG News Service article
- see this PC Magazine article

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