According to the latest news on the Web, mobile phone carrier AT&T is working on the increase of the download speed of its 3G network to 7.2 Mbps. As many of you might already know, the operator's HSPA (high-speed packet access) network is currently providing a 3.6 Mbps download speed in ideal conditions, which means that the announced upgrade is meant to double that speed.
The process is not a very complicated one, it seems, as it would require the carrier to install new software on its cell towers. On the one hand, not all the phones that currently connect to AT&T's 3G network would be able to support the increased speeds, though it seems that the company is also testing new devices with the 7.2 Mbps downloads.
On the other hand, it seems that doubling the speed of its network won't be the end of the road for AT&T, as the wireless operator is reported to plan making further upgrades to HSPA+ later this year, a move that will allow it to offer theoretical download speeds of up to 21 Mbps. On top of that, starting with 2010, the company will debut the deployment of its LTE (long-term evolution) network, expected to go live the next year and to offer download speeds near 150 Mbps.
According to Scott McElroy, AT&T Mobility VP of technology realization, the LTE service will become available for laptops at the beginning, yet phones will soon be able to utilize it as well. It seems that voice services will be offered via the data network through the use of VoIP software solutions.
As for the 7.2 Mbps capable 3G networks, rumors have it that AT&T might release to the market the next-generation Apple iPhone, during this summer, and that the device will come with support for the faster 3G network, though nothing has been confirmed up until now.