AT&T Announces Plans for 7.2 Mbps 3G Deployment

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AT&T today announced its plans for deployment of HSPA 7.2 3G wireless technology topping out at 7.2 Mbps, doubling the speed of AT&T's current offerings and serving as an intermediate step to the deployment of LTE (4G) several years down the road. AT&T plans to begin rolling out the improvements later this year and will take until 2011 to fully deploy the necessary equipment. LTE trials are scheduled for 2010 with deployment to begin in 2011.
The upgrade to High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) 7.2 technology is part of AT&T's plan for continued investments to deliver the nation's best mobile broadband experience – the ideal combination of speed, coverage and best device line-up. AT&T today has the nation's fastest 3G network and has attracted more than twice the number of smartphone users than any other competitor.

With its network built on the 3G UMTS technology that is commonly deployed throughout the world, AT&T can boost the speed of its mobile broadband network and offer a wide variety of devices to take advantage of it well in advance of 2011-2012, when most industry observers expect 4G LTE networks and device availability to scale. AT&T plans to begin LTE trials in 2010, with deployment beginning in 2011.
As part of and alongside its move to HSPA 7.2, AT&T announced a series of initiatives that it is planning to undertake this year:
- Near-Doubling Radio Frequency Capacity. In 2008 and 2009 to date, high-quality 850 MHz spectrum has been deployed in more than half of AT&T’s 3G network footprint to improve overall coverage and in-building reception, with additional markets planned for later in the year.
- More Bandwidth to Cell Sites. We are adding fiber-optic connectivity and additional capacity to thousands of cell sites across the country this year, expanding the critical connections that deliver traffic from a cell site into the global IP backbone network. These upgrades will support the higher mobile broadband speeds enabled by both HSPA 7.2 and LTE.
- More Cell Sites. Deployment of about 2,100 new cell sites across the country.
- Wi-Fi Integration. Many AT&T smartphones will be able to switch seamlessly between 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity. AT&T customers with qualifying smartphone and 3G LaptopConnect plans have access to the nation’s largest Wi-Fi network – more than 20,000 hotspots, including locations in all 50 states – at no additional charge. AT&T’s global Wi-Fi footprint covers more than 90,000 hotspots, and AT&T also can create permanent or temporary extended Wi-Fi zones in areas with high 3G network use, like a grouping of hotels or a festival.
- MicroCells. Customer trials leading toward general availability of AT&T 3G MicroCell offerings, which utilize femtocells to enhance in-building wireless coverage.
AT&T's announcement makes official statements made last month by AT&T executive Scott McElroy regarding the move to 7.2 Mbps 3G, although it does not address the possibility of 21 Mbps HSPA+ raised in the previous report.

A number of rumors over the past few month, including some as recently as yesterday, have pointed to the inclusion of support for the new 7.2 Mbps "3.5G" standard in the next-generation iPhone rumored for release within the next few months.

Article Link: AT&T Announces Plans for 7.2 Mbps 3G Deployment
 

Macisgr8

macrumors member
Sep 20, 2008
35
0
Just one word awsome! I hope 3g users can take advantage and you dont need to buy the new iphone comming out in a month.
 

bigandy

macrumors G3
Apr 30, 2004
8,852
0
Murka
Damn, that's faster that my current home broadband connection.
Not with the latency of mobile broadband.


I've tried the 14.4mbps Vodafone USB dongles here, and they achieve nowhere near the connection they should - partly due to the latency and partly due to the fact you need to be up on the transmitter tower standing right bloody next to the transmitters to actually get that throughput. :rolleyes:
 

iWork

macrumors member
May 7, 2009
43
0
Although the hardware in the iPhone 3G can support 7.2Mbps, Apple has apparently limited the speed to 3.6Mbps to preserve battery life. Today, at D7, AT&T CEO confirmed that AT&Ts current lineup of devices, including iPhone 3G, will not support 7.2Mbps.

The real question is whether AT&T has enough backhaul capacity. Here in NYC, I have yet to break 1Mbps, in either peak or off-peak periods.
 

bigandy

macrumors G3
Apr 30, 2004
8,852
0
Murka
Is there a tech person in this thread that knows this answer? Thanks.
Unless the 3G supports HSPA via firmware update (not impossible) then it won't.

If it *does* support it via firmware update, it's likely to be able to go all the way to 42mbps by way of firmware.


....iirc about OTA stuff. :eek:
 

bobbleheadbob

macrumors 6502a
Feb 6, 2007
653
0
Massachusetts
Faster is better. I just hope they don't raise the rates on us to access this. Right now, 3G in my area is passable for simple downloads and browsing. Edge is painfully slow for anything.
 

rikers_mailbox

macrumors 6502a
Sep 27, 2003
739
0
LA-la-land
Dumb question .... Are MicroCells necessary given Wi-Fi Integration?

Say you're on a call in your car, then you come home within range of your home wireless network. Couldn't your call "switch seamlessly" over to your Wi-Fi, providing better coverage, signal strength, and potentially better call quality?

This would also take traffic off of the burgeoning AT&T network, which is good for everyone.
 

anubis

macrumors 6502a
Feb 7, 2003
937
50
Although the hardware in the iPhone 3G can support 7.2Mbps, Apple has apparently limited the speed to 3.6Mbps to preserve battery life. Today, at D7, AT&T CEO confirmed that AT&Ts current lineup of devices, including iPhone 3G, will not support 7.2Mbps.

The real question is whether AT&T has enough backhaul capacity. Here in NYC, I have yet to break 1Mbps, in either peak or off-peak periods.
Correct. While the 3G chip inside current iPhones supports 7.2Mbps, Apple is highly unlikely to unlock those speeds with a firmware update due to the diminished battery life. The next iPhone will have a more efficient chipset as well as an improved battery, making the 7.2Mbps implimentation more feasable.
 

soLoredd

macrumors 6502a
Mar 12, 2007
967
0
California
I'll believe it when I see it. AT&T seems to always sound great when it comes to expanding but then they half-ass the actual implementation (see: current 3G network, the hyped WiFi hotspots from two years ago, etc).
 

srl7741

macrumors 68020
Jan 19, 2008
2,091
1
GMT-6
Heck I'm still waiting for 3G. I live in a City of 750K and still do not have 3G. When AT&T speaks I tend to roll my eyes.

I've heard 3G is nice :)
 

RonD69

macrumors member
Sep 14, 2008
77
4
Gradual improvements

I remember when the iPhone first came out. I switched from T-Mobile to AT&T just to get the 1st gen. iPhone. I regretted the switch because I couldn't get a signal in my office, at best, 1 bar; all that steel in my building prevented a strong signal. Now, I'm happy to report that my reception is strong.

AT&T is smart to reinvest the increased cashflow to better their network. Maybe consumer perception would improve a bit now.
 

virtualemotion

macrumors newbie
Aug 5, 2008
5
0
I just wish ATT would expand their network instead of just increasing their speed. In my area they show coverage, but it is a lie.
There is no coverage and ATT is not as stable as Sprint or Verizon.

ATT says they have a world wide network, it is a lie. The network outside is not ATT but of other providers, and they have a better network then ATT.
 

iWork

macrumors member
May 7, 2009
43
0
Actually I hope all 3G users can't use the 7.2. That way, they won't clog up the data for us new iPhone users :D
The tubes are already clogged. :mad:

If you live in a metro, you won't get much better speed with iPhone 7.2 than iPhone 3G. If you live in suburbia, than you should theoretically see some difference. If you live in a rural area, AT&T has ignored you.
 

TheSpaz

macrumors 604
Jun 20, 2005
7,032
1
I can't even get my iPhone to perform at the current 3G speeds. Also, how fast do you need internet on a mobile phone?
 

aristobrat

macrumors G5
Oct 14, 2005
12,265
1,356
Dumb question .... Are MicroCells necessary given Wi-Fi Integration?

Say you're on a call in your car, then you come home within range of your home wireless network. Couldn't your call "switch seamlessly" over to your Wi-Fi, providing better coverage, signal strength, and potentially better call quality?

This would also take traffic off of the burgeoning AT&T network, which is good for everyone.
Sounds like you're talking about a technology called UMA.

UMA is pretty cool, but the advantage to a MicroCell is that any AT&T handset can take advantage of them. To use UMA, you have to have a handset with that functionality built in.

I can't even get my iPhone to perform at the current 3G speeds. Also, how fast do you need internet on a mobile phone?
If you're bidding on an auction in eBay that's about to end, or if you're downloading 5 songs from the iTunes store, your mobile internet connection can't be fast enough.
 

WirelessNetwork

macrumors newbie
May 27, 2009
5
0
Good News ... Sorta ..

The realities:

1. Existing iPhone 3G users will continue to experience the same performance with this new of level of HSDPA. This is too bad - since it means that this deployment is mostly of importance as an incremental increase in capacity and only a performance increase for new hardware clients.
2. With new iPhone hardware, new users will likely get improved performance close to a tower where there is enough signal strength to support this new capability.
3. The "average" download speed from each tower probably won't change that much - dominated by backhaul capacity, existing smartphone and data dongle users. Remember - a typical tower has less capacity than a WiFi AP backed by a DSL line ... maybe a cable connection.
4. Backhaul is going to be the real challenge.
 
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