AT&T Migrating 3G Network to 7.2 Mbps, Planning for 21 Mbps Later This Year?

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Apr 12, 2001
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Telephony Online reports that AT&T is in the process of upgrading its 3G wireless network from the current 3.6 Mbps download standard to 7.2 Mbps. Several recent rumors have suggested that the next-generation iPhone due this summer will be able to take advantage of the higher speeds.
AT&T is increasing the downlink capacity on its high-speed packet access (HSPA) from 3.6 megabits per second to 7.2 Mb/s through software upgrades at the base station, said Scott McElroy, AT&T Mobility vice president of technology realization. AT&T currently has the enhanced networks running in two test markets but plans to extend those capabilities to its entire network.
Furthermore, while the HSPA standard has the capability of supporting 14.4 Mbps through future upgrades, AT&T appears to be planning to bypass that step and move later this year directly to the HSPA+ standard, offering download speeds of up to 21 Mbps and a number of other upgrades.
The next obvious step would be for AT&T to further upgrade its 3G networks and devices to its full 14.4-Mb/s potential, but McElroy said AT&T will most likely skip the final HSPA iteration for two reasons: There have been technical difficulties implementing the final step, and HSPA+ is now ready for prime time. There's little point in migrating to 14.4 Mb/s if AT&T can go straight to 21 Mb/s, McElroy said.
These upgrades to AT&T's 3G network are designed to serve as intermediate steps until AT&T rolls out its LTE (4G) network, currently slated to debut in 2011.


Article Link: AT&T Migrating 3G Network to 7.2 Mbps, Planning for 21 Mbps Later This Year?
 

profets

macrumors 601
Mar 18, 2009
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4,338
Hasn't at&t already been deploying 7.2? i know in canada rogers has had 7.2 active in some big cities for over a year.
 

swingerofbirch

macrumors 68040
If they get up to 21 Mbps do you think they will start to offer that as a plan for people's personal computers? I know you already can with a built in 3G card or dongle, but I mean, do you think they will try to mainstream it and position themselves as an ISP? The only problem being cell reception is always worse indoors...21 Mbps is faster than what you can get from either the DSL or cable company in my area.
 

antdfsc

macrumors member
Jun 7, 2006
48
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Mass
how about expanding regular 3G to areas that don't have it yet? I live in MA and it is very inconsistent from one city to another...
 

eff pc

macrumors regular
Jul 12, 2008
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How does HSPA+ compare to 4G?
As the article said, HSPA+ has a downlink speed of 21 mbps while the LTE (4G) network is said to have downlink speeds of around 100 mbps.

Can't wait for the iPhone LTE!!!
 

t0mat0

macrumors 603
Aug 29, 2006
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Uk

Anyone able to say if O2 could do this to their UK network? Because there's sweet FA of 7.2 currently, and no real news on it at all from O2 to my knowledge.
 

czeluff

macrumors 6502
Oct 23, 2006
272
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comcast

Wow, 7.2? I'm stuck with a 4mbps Comcast connection at home for $50/mo. All of a sudden the $30/mo I pay for AT&T 3G doesn't seem like the crappiest end of the stick...

cz
 

Moof1904

macrumors 65816
May 20, 2004
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Does this mean that my current 3G phone will be able to take advantage of the 7.2 or will this increased speed be tied to some as yet unreleased model?
 

stagi

macrumors 65816
Feb 18, 2006
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That would be great, but I would like my current 3g to work consistently (in San Jose you would think the network is solid, but always up and down)
 

alm99

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Oct 30, 2008
313
6
how about expanding regular 3G to areas that don't have it yet? I live in MA and it is very inconsistent from one city to another...
I second this, their 3G network is garbage compared to Verizon Wireless.
 

MadeTheSwitch

macrumors 6502a
Apr 20, 2009
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I like the idea of faster connections and especially the coming 4G networks. I just wonder what these rollouts will do to PRICE of service. All that new equipment has to be paid for somehow.

It kind of reminds me of the arms race the movie theatre industry had some years back. They built and built and built in an attempt to compete with each other. Only problem is that it left them in financial ruin.

And now, with all the cell phone companies jumping on the 4G bandwagon, I see a similar arms race in the making.
 

striatedglutes

macrumors 6502
Feb 22, 2009
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USA
Does this mean that my current 3G phone will be able to take advantage of the 7.2 or will this increased speed be tied to some as yet unreleased model?
I can't find anything for which speeds the iPhone 3G radio supports...anyone?

edit from wikipedia: "The iPhone 3G also supports third-generation UMTS and HSDPA 3.6, but not HSDPA 7.2 or HSUPA networks." Steve said that the higher speed chipsets weren't energy efficient enough at the time for 7.2mbps speeds.
 

dlewis23

macrumors 6502a
Oct 23, 2007
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My iPhone barely gets over 1 mbps in Kansas City. So that would make the new iPhone about 2.5-3 Mbps?
That is dependent on the network in your area. Its all 3.6 Mbps but some places are faster then others.

Where I am at, I break 2 Mbps often. My avg. is 1800 Kbps.

When they go to 7.2 Mbps HSPA real world would probably be 2.5 Mbps - 4 Mbps, maybe spiking close to 5 Mbps in some places.

21 Mbps HSPA real world would probably never go faster then 15 Mbps. The key is for AT&T to provide enough bandwidth to each tower to be able to support many devices downloading at these speeds at once.
 

Boomhowler

macrumors 6502
Feb 23, 2008
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I can't find anything for which speeds the iPhone 3G radio supports...anyone?
It should be 3.6Mbit in DL.

Btw we are getting 21Mbit in Sweden (all major cities, the "3" network) and the LTE planning and ordering has already started by Tele2, Telenor and TeliaSonera.
 

dagamer34

macrumors 65816
May 1, 2007
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Houston, TX
It's really important to remember the difference between theoretical speeds of a technology and it's practical rollout due to several hundred to thousands of subscribers accessing data from a tower at one point in time.

It's not really fair to start saying that customers will be seeing 7.2Mbps, 14.4Mbps, etc.. speeds when you have to consider bandwidth management to make sure that traffic doesn't slow to a crawl.

A good rule of thumb is to 1/2 whatever companies speed advertise, and that's a good estimation of the speeds you'll consistently see coming to your device.

Of course, these speed upgrades are mostly useless on an iPhone, which is capped by it's CPU. Though tethering might be more meaningful, the cost of a tethering plan is insane for most people.
 

SirOmega

macrumors 6502a
Apr 17, 2006
704
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Las Vegas
I think wikipedia and MR are wrong on this - its presumed that the baseband controller in the iPhone 3G is the Infineon X-GOLD 608 chip. If it is, it supports 7.2Mb/s downloads. Your downloads wouldn't be that fast, but I would expect speeds around 3Mb/s at max.
 

mklos

macrumors 68000
Dec 4, 2002
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My house!
how about expanding regular 3G to areas that don't have it yet? I live in MA and it is very inconsistent from one city to another...
Exactly what I was going to say. I'm stuck on EDGE still. This is kind of keeping me from getting an iPhone 3G. Why should I have to pay for something I cannot get?

They also need to expand their coverage in general. There are important places I go where there is no coverage, or its very spotty at best.