AT&T today explained some of the key details behind a planned upgrade for its 3G network, including improvements to the infrastructure underneath. Having initially run a trial, the carrier now says it 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. While actual speeds are likely to be lower, the peak is twice as fast as for the existing 3.6Mbps network.
The speed and capacity upgrades partly corroborate reports of an iPhone-inspired upgrade to AT&T’s network, which may be strained by video uploads made possible through the next-generation iPhone. They also potentially address frequent complaints about an overburdened 3G network that, in key cities like New York and San Francisco, has resulted in frequent dropped calls and 3G data often being slow or simply unavailable.
Multiple rumors have floated 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.