AT&T to start HSPA upgrades this year

AT&T Mobility is going to 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 starting 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.

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

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

Despite the positive tone of the company's announcement--and the wide range of coverage the news is sure to get--AT&T did not provide a number of important specifics, including how many people and miles its upgrade will cover, what real-world speeds will be like, what vendors will deploy the upgrade, and how much it will cost.

For more:
- see this release

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