AT&T has officially announced plans to upgrade its 3G network from the current HSPA 3.6 implementation to HSPA 7.2 by the end of 2011.
The upgrade will begin by doubling the amount of 850MHz spectrum now dedicated to its 3G network in most major cities, deploying 2,100 more cell sites across the country, deploying fiber backbone to many of its current cell sites to improve bandwidth and ease ccongestion, and the addition of microcells/femotcells for better indoor coverage.
AT&T will also add 20 more major cities and surrounding suburbs to the 350 cities it already covers with 3G service, while qualifying smartphone and 3G LaptopConnect plans now feature access to its 20,000 Wi-Fi hot spots around the U.S., with dynamic switching from 3G to Wi-Fi supported on certain devices.
More devices supporting the new network improvements will be launched later this year and next year.
AT&T has also confirmed its timeline for LTE, with trials now beginning next year instead of 2011 leading up to commercial deployment in the same year, which is three years earlier than previously stated.