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AT & T ramps up 3G mobile broadband service

Wed, 05/21/2008 - 8:15am
Mike Robuck

AT&T today announced that by the end of June, the company will deploy High-Speed Uplink Packet Access (HSUPA) technology in the six remaining markets across AT&T's entire third-generation (3G) wireless broadband network.

Once the six remaining markets are live, AT&T will have completed its deployment of HSUPA technology, which complements existing High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) technology. AT&T said it’s the nation’s only carrier to have fully deployed HSDPA technology in its 3G network.

Currently, AT&T’s 3G network is available in more than 275 markets. By year-end, the AT&T 3G network will be available in nearly 350 markets.

With the new addition of HSUPA technology, AT&T 3G users will have uplink speeds between 500 and 800 Kbps. AT&T said the technology is available in all but a few remaining AT&T 3G markets and will be included in all future deployments. The new upload speeds complement AT&T's 3G download capabilities, which currently offer up to 1.4 Mbps across all markets for customers who have capable devices, such as AT&T's LaptopConnect wireless modems.

"The ability to quickly upload large files from a laptop is no longer a luxury – it's a necessity," said Kris Rinne, SVP of architecture and planning for AT&T's wireless operations. "By fully deploying HSUPA across our 3G footprint, we not only meet the current needs of our customers but also lay the path for our continued evolution to even faster wireless broadband capabilities."

Between 2005 and 2008, AT&T will have invested more than $20 billion in network improvements and upgrades — an average of $5 billion a year. AT&T recently turned off its older TDMA network, which allows the company to reuse 850 MHz spectrum to expand and enhance 3G markets.

Yesterday, AT&T announced that qualifying LaptopConnect customers could access more than 17,000 Wi-Fi hotspots free of charge. Users can access Wi-Fi at nearly 7,000 participating Starbucks locations, as well as thousands more locations.

Qualifying LaptopConnect customers will automatically receive a pop-up message alerting them to Wi-Fi availability when in range of an AT&T hotspot. At that point, customers who have downloaded the latest AT&T Communication Manager software to their laptop PC just need to click “connect” to access the Wi-Fi connectivity. The offer is available to customers who subscribe to a DataConnect plan of $59.99 or more.

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