AT&T completes HSPA 7.2 software upgrade, does not promise faster speeds

Complaints about AT&T's network may have reached the point of ridiculousness recently, but the wireless carrier today announced that the software for its 3G sites has been completely upgraded to support HSPA 7.2, which could improve connection reliability.

AT&T announced the upgrade to HSPA 7.2 in May, which promised to raise its maximum 3G downlink speed from 3.6 Mbps to, what else, 7.2 Mbps.

Unfortunately, this software upgrade is only a single piece of the whole upgrade, and will not make a difference in data speeds for the consumer. Instead, AT&T says the software upgrade will offer "a better overall customer experience by generally improving consistency in accessing data sessions."

The complete upgrade to AT&T's cell sites is not expected be complete until 2012, but the company said the full 7.2 capabilities are turning up on a site-by-site basis in its first six test markets (Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, and Miami) which were announced in September.

This is all in AT&T's continuing efforts to provide enough bandwidth for data-hungry smartphones that are becoming the mobile devices of choice for consumers. In 2009, the company said, it deployed five times the number of backhaul connections it did in 2008, and has invested more than $19 billion in network expansion in seven fiscal quarters.

Still, for the 10 devices in AT&T's roster which support HSPA 7.2, two years is a long time to wait.

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