AT&T's 3G wireless network will soon be twice as fast.
An executive at the company told Telephony Online this week that the company is running trials of its upgraded 3G network in two markets. And the company plans to expand the upgrades across its nationwide network once the trials are completed.
The upgrade to the company's HSPA network will provide peak download speeds of about 3.6Mbps. The company's current generation of technology offers peak download links speeds of 1.7 Mbps. Of course, real world data speeds are much lower. Most wireless subscribers get download speeds of around 700 Kbps.
A year ago, Ralph de la Vega, AT&T's mobility chief, said AT&T would be offering 20Mbps downloads over its wireless network as soon as 2009.
While the company plans to continue to upgrade its 3G network to squeeze out more capacity, the company has also said that it plans to deploy a 4G wireless network using Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology. Verizon Wireless also plans to deploy LTE for its 4G network. The company is testing the service later this year and plans commercial deployments starting in 2010.
Faster wireless networks will key to providing more web functionality to handheld devices such as smartphones and Netbooks. Clearwire, which is using some of Sprint Nextel's wireless spectrum, is building a 4G nationwide network using a technology called WiMax.