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AT&T Doubles Wireless Speeds in Six Cities

Many consumers anxiously waiting for faster speeds on AT&T's 3G network may not see turbo-charged downloads until next year or possibly even 2011. The company announced this morning that only six U.S. cities would initially receive the High Speed Packet Access 7.2 upgrade this year: Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, and Miami. The network upgrade, according to AT&T, will provide "theoretical" peak speeds of 7.2 Mbps, doubling what 3G now offers and will serve as a bridge to the upcoming 4G LTE network.

As for the rest of the nation, AT&T plans to expand the HSPA 7.2 upgrade to 25 of the 30 largest markets in 2010. The company also claims that 90-percent of the entire network will have been upgraded to HSPA 7.2 in 2011, however AT&T plans to roll out six compatible smartphones and two notebook adapters by the end of this year. Electronista adds that the iPhone 3GS already supports 7.2 Mbps downloads on Rogers and other carriers with more advanced HSPA networks.

“With HSPA 7.2, we’re making the nation’s fastest 3G network even faster, and we’ll be able to deploy this technology before LTE networks, devices and equipment grow to scale,” said John Stankey, president and CEO, AT&T Operations. “Even as we look forward to LTE, we know that 3G will be the predominant mobile broadband network technology worldwide for smartphones for the next few years. AT&T’s strategy will deliver faster 3G speeds, while also allowing us to build the foundation for the 4G future.”

AT&T plans to begin testing 4G LTE wireless networks sometime in 2010, and looks to deploy the technology in 2011. "This schedule aligns with industry expectations of when a wide variety of compatible 4G wireless devices will be available," the company said.