AT&T has released details behind its planned upgrade for its 3G network, including improvements to the infrastructure underneath. The telco plans to start upgrading its network to 7.2Mbps HSPA this year and should have the faster service in place on all its connections by 2011.
The peak speed wll is twice as fast as for the existing 3.6Mbps network, although that means little in reality as the ordinary speed will be much lower than that. The tweak will be a prelude to 4G using the Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard, which AT&T reiterated is on track to start testing in 2010 and to go live in 2011. Apparently AT&T says it has been upgrading the backhaul to support the technology and adding more support for 850MHz 3G.
It has also been adding fibre optic networking and extra capacity to "thousands" of mobile access points to handle the extra load. About 2,100 new mobile sites are also going up in existing areas.
The dark satanic rumour mill has been churning out a yarn which claims that Apple will give the next iPhone a 7.2Mbps 3G chipset from Infineon that will automatically use the added speed when it exists on the local 3G network. We guess AT&T has to be ready.