Alcatel-Lucent admits software glitch is slowing 3G speeds on AT&T

An issue with how the software on wireless equipment provided by Alcatel-Lucent handles advanced 3G data connections is responsible for slower upload speeds on AT&T's network, the two companies admitted on Wednesday.

Speed issues have been reported in several cities including Philadelphia, New York, Seattle and Washington, D.C. It's not everywhere though: earlier this week, BetaNews' Joe Wilcox reported he was unaffected in the area surrounding his residence in southern California.

HSUPA -- short for High Speed Uplink Packet Access, is the most current version of the 3G GSM wireless standard in use by AT&T. In real-life situations, it is said to bump uplink speeds to 500kbps to 1.2Mbps from the 384kbps that is the maximum with HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access), the precursor to HSUPA.

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The issues are not limited to the iPhone 4, either. Any HSUPA-compatible device will also experience slowness issues under certain conditions. The reason why some areas were unaffected is due to Alcatel-Lucent equipment only being used in certain areas.

AT&T estimates that about two percent -- roughly 1.9 million customers -- would be affected by this problem. By default, the devices are reverting back to lower 3G upload speeds and would continue to do so until the problem is fixed.

No estimated time of completion for a fix has been given, although AT&T said in a statement that the two companies were already working on a fix. Until then, users in affected areas may have to deal with upload speeds of 100kbps according to reports.

Wednesday's admission is only the latest in a string of issues for the carrier over the past few months, most of which have involved Apple's iPhone 4. The launch of the device was an embarrassment for the company, riddled with glitches.

Another issue exposed the contact information of some 114,000 iPad owners, something AT&T has promised to investigate and prosecute the guilty party.

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