Here's good news for iPhone users: AT&T said Wednesday that it is plotting a 3G network upgrade to offer "considerably faster mobile broadband speeds."
Of course, the bad news is that AT&T's network is holding you back now.
The company said its upgrade will be completed in 2011. Specifically, AT&T said it will upgrade its High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) 7.2 technology on the 3G side. AT&T plans to begin LTE trials---the rival to WiMax---in 2010 with deployments starting in 2011.
AT&T's news (statement) was timed to overlap with CEO Randall Stephenson's talk at the D7 conference. Walt Mossberg asked Stephenson why AT&T's network wasn't ready for the iPhone's bandwidth consumption:
Walt: Let’s talk for a moment about the iPhone. It’s a data-intensive device. You weren’t ready when you first launched the iPhone 3G. What happened? Stephenson says the company wasn’t quite ready. “But we’re improving.”
A look at what AT&T is promising:
- A doubling of 850 MHz wireless spectrum devoted to 3G in most metro areas;
- New cell backhaul connections via fiber-optic connectivity and additional cell sites (2,100 of them);
- A theoretical peak speed of 7.2Mbps on the 3G network (you'll get less in the real world);
- AT&T's 3G network will be deployed to 20 additional metro areas in 2009.
Add it up and AT&T said its total capital spending budget for 2009 will remain in the $17 billion to $18 billion range.