AT&T to complete high-speed 3G wireless network buildout by 2009

AT&T Mobility says it will step up its 3G buildout, expanding its high-speed mobile service to more than 80 additional cities in 2008. The planned expansion will provide AT&T 3rd generation (3G) high-speed data services to nearly 350 leading U.S. markets by the end of 2008, including all of the top 100 U.S. cities. The initiative will entail rolling out 1,500+ additional cell sites in the U.S. The AT&T 3G network now delivers downlink (download) speeds between 600 and 1,400 Kilobits per second (Kbps) and uplink (upload) speeds between 500 and 800 Kbps.

AT&T also plans to complete the deployment of High Speed Uplink Packet Access (HSUPA) by the middle of 2008. HSUPA provides higher uplink speeds and is the next step in the evolution of AT&T’s 3G network that will the transition to High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) standards. With this change, AT&T will catch up to Verizon and Sprint in terms of high speed wireless coverage. In fact, AT&T may even have faster uploads with HSUPA than Verizon or Sprint has with their EV-DO Rev A network.

Currently, there are multiple 3G technologies used by different wireless carriers in the U.S. AT&T uses HSPA that is based on W-CDMA technology, while Verizon, Sprint, Alltel, and U.S. Cellular, use CDMA2000 1xEV-DO technology. Sprint is also building another high-speed wireless network based on WiMAX, which was recently classified as a 3G technology. For 4th generation (4G) services, AT&T will use a technology named Long Term Evolution (LTE), a 4th generation technology that is still in the ‘development’ stage. Verizon too has announced that it will use LTE as its 4G technology, which will align it closely with its half-parent Vodafone, which mainly operates in Europe and Asia.

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