AT&T will upgrade its 3G networks and add additional backhaul in six major cities this year amid growing criticism of its network performance.
The carrier will upgrade its network to HSPA 7.2 in Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles and Miami. The new service will be available by the end of 2009.
The company also plans to deploy HSPA 7.2 in 25 of the nation’s 30 largest markets by the end of 2010, and to reach about 90 percent of its existing 3G network footprint with HSPA 7.2 by the end of 2011.
Wireless traffic on the AT&T network has quadrupled over the past year, according to AT&T. It is widely accepted that the data-intensive iPhone is responsible for the bulk of that traffic. The carrier has denied accusations that its network is overloaded, but there have been numerous complaints of service outages from customers and reports to the contrary from analysts and the media.
The carrier recently spent several months beefing up its network to handle multimedia messaging services (MMS) on the iPhone, which will be enabled by a software upgrade later this fall.
AT&T will burn through $12 billion this year to improve its wireless services, broadband networks and to add “substantial” backhaul capacity to cell sites.
The company also announced that it expects to have six HSPA 7.2-compatible smartphones in its device portfolio by the end of the year, as well as two new LaptopConnect cards. AT&T is behind Verizon on the LTE front, but said today it will deploy 4G in 2011.
Filed Under: Infrastructure