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AT&T plans to get 14.4Mbps 3G to 250m people in 2010

updated 04:45 pm EDT, Fri May 14, 2010

ATT plans surprise HSPA plus upgrade for this year

AT&T's John Stankey at a New York City event today surprised the industry by revealing that the carrier's upgrade to HSPA+ will be much larger than expected. It plans to have 14.4Mbps access rolled out far enough on its network to reach 250 million subscribers by the end of 2010. The speed-up should roughly double the 7.2Mbps speeds on offer today and will usually involve just software upgrades for cell sites.

The executive wouldn't say exactly when the HSPA+ would start deployment other than sometime later in the year. Faster 3G speeds wouldn't affect the company's upgrade to 4G using the LTE standard, which should still see its commercial rollout in 2011.

Adding HSPA+ marks a seeming reversal from earlier statements, where AT&T had said it might skip HSPA+ altogether in favor of LTE. Stankey, however, said AT&T had a chance to provide better performance on 3G due to its use of HSPA and was "taking that opportunity" to improve its speeds ahead of time.

The network's implementation won't be the fastest in the world, as all three Canadian carriers as well as some around the world are using the 21Mbps version. It should nonetheless see reduced lag and the other benefits associated with the newer technology.

In practice, HSPA+ has usually been reserved for data-only use, such as USB modems and mobile routers. This year may change circumstances as companies like Infineon and Qualcomm may have HSPA+ phone chipsets that could provide the faster speeds to handsets for the first time. No indications have surfaced that the new iPhone will support HSPA+, but Apple has regularly been a driver of upgrades on the network, pushing first an expanded EDGE network in 2007 followed by regular HSPA in 2008 and 2009.

by MacNN Staff



  1. facebook_Reed

    Via Facebook

    Joined: May 2010


    Not the best track record

    AT&T also said that we would have iPhone tethering by now. I won't hold my breath.

  1. kadavila

    Joined: Dec 1969


    All that speed and still the calls will drop...

    In any case, at least my jailbroked iPhone will be an even more awesome tethered router from which to surf on my iPad with...! Muhuhhahahahaa....

  1. mtnrunner2

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Nice but where are the towers?

    This is good news, but my main beef with AT&T is not the speed, but the lack of geographical coverage.

    I live in Colorado, and coverage west of Denver is iffy. It's (barely) OK in mountain towns with ski resorts, but not good at the resorts themselves, or elsewhere in the mountains. Half the time I don't have a web connection, so no email or posting. And there's lots to post about :)

  1. Fast iBook

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Waiting for the next iPhone release.......

    As i'm elegible for a full discount upgrade this month.......

    - A

  1. nowwhatareyoulookingat

    Joined: Dec 1969



    their cell towers are connected to the internet via 14.4k modems calling into AOL...

  1. ggore

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Tough for the rest of us

    Unfortunately mtnrunner2, we are among the remaining 50 million people in the US that will never have this level of service, or will never have service at all. 99% of the people in the US live on 3% of the land, and within 100 miles of a coast, so those of us who do not, reallly don't matter. We are left to be served by the small "regional carriers" such as CellularOne, none of which even have 3G service, and AT&T cannot roam on those carriers.

  1. facebook_Justin

    Via Facebook

    Joined: May 2010


    comment title

    No thanks, I enjoy my T-Mobile service, since they treat me like a customer even though I refuse to have a credit check run or start a contract. When at&t lets me join without a credit check/contract, then I'll be interested, until then they can offer 400MBPS, still ain't interested.

  1. MorituriMax

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Wow great

    I'd rather they instead made sure people can even GET 3G. I live in southern Alabama and bought an iPhone 3G 7 or 8 months ago. I have yet to see even a flicker of a 3G icon on my phone.

    I finally bought a Verizon MiFi to get 3G and wow, it's not even that fast, but man it's much better than the nothing I got from AT&T. So AT&T is full of brown stuff when it runs commercial saying it has the fastest 3G service.

    Which is great, if you CAN EVEN GET IT!

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I think that header is supposed to read ".... 250 people". Someone through an M in there, I'm sure of it.

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