AT&T announces 7.2 Mbps HSPA upgrade

It has been one year almost to the day that AT&T completed its initial HSPA rollout, adding 800 Kbps HSUPA. As was promised on the operator's roadmap, the company announced its next network upgrade will begin later this year.

This upgrade will increase HSPA's maximum downlink speed from 3.6 Mbps to 7.2 Mbps, which will pull AT&T up into the majority bracket of HSPA operators (or those whose speeds max out at 7.2 Mbps or higher), and consequently increase the global average speed due to the company's ballooning subscriber base of more than 78 million.

AT&T says it carries 17.6 petabytes of data traffic on an average business day across the world, and is adding some 2,100 new cell sites and thousands of additional fiber backhaul connections on existing sites this year to handle the steadily increasing traffic.

The network upgrade will coincide with the expected launches of a host of new 3G devices, including a possible new iPhone and the carrier's first Android handset, and the beginning of the carrier's first 4G LTE trials.

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