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AT&T to boost 3G speeds more than fivefold by 2009

post #1 of 90
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AT&T said Wednesday it plans to boost the speed of its 3G wireless network to speeds of 20 megabits per second in 2009, paving the way for over-the-air downloads that are more than five times faster than what customers can achieve today.

Speaking at the Morgan Stanley's annual Communications Conference, the company's mobility chief Ralph de la Vega said engineers already have a version of AT&T's HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) 3G network up and running in the labs at speeds of 7.2 megabits per second, or approximately double the theoretical throughput of its existing network.

"It's clear to us that we are in the very early stages of what I would call a wireless data revolution," he said.

AT&T plans to transition to HSPA release 7 sometime in 2009, which will deliver even bigger speeds "exceeding 20 megabits per second," according to the executive. He said the upgrade will require few if any hardware modifications to the company's infrastructure and will instead be a smooth transition achieved largely through a software upgrade to its electronics.

De la Vega also said that his firm has "a clear and logical path" to 700MHz 4G access via the Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard in the 2010 timeframe which should again increase speeds fivefold to nearly 100 megabits per second.

"[The] steps to get there are very logical and they're all building on the same GSM technology that we've been using for a while," he explained. "LTE will allow for backwards compatibility to GSM and HSPA, which is a great benefit to customers. And our path forward to LTE allows us to get there step-by-step, with interim steps that will deliver more and more speeds everyday."

De la Vega was similarly excited about AT&T's growth opportunities in the smart phone market given upcoming handsets from Apple and BlackBerry maker Research In Motion, noting that just 16 percent of the company's postpaid customers currently own integrated devices.

"So upside on further penetration is substantial," he said.
post #2 of 90
Wireless has such a great roadmap right now.

HSPA is already at 14.4Mbit in networks today and HSPA+ 28.8Mbit will be running in many by years end. Still waiting for more devices to catch up to these high speeds that the networks offer. Evolved HSPA 42Mbit will be readily available in many markets before the end of 2009.

HSPA+ also offers 50% increased continuous talk time / internet usage as well as these great increases in speed.

LTE offers speeds of up to 326.4Mbit/s in the downlink and 86.4Mbit uplink in its first release for each 20MHz spectrum slice. The first LTE networks will be operational in 2010.

The contracts for these network upgrades are being awarded with such aggressive time schedules it's amazing.

The Telstra HSPA network in Australia was built in just 10 months from contract to mass launch covering 98 percent of the population, and an average of a base station built every 25 minutes day and night over that period.
post #3 of 90
Sounds like hype to me. They may have (some) of their towers updated to it, but no handsets will support it. Where are all the HSUPA phones? It will require more processing to support which means more power consumptions which means that handset makers will leave it until Moore's Law catches up and we get to 22nm chips or something. In other words 2010+.

Also it's 3GPP release 7 and its called HSPA Evolved.
post #4 of 90
Honestly, I don't even care so much about the specific technology used for wireless broadband, I just don't want the fucking cell companies to be the gatekeepers.

If in 5-10 years we're still paying for minutes, and getting overage charges, and signing 2-year contracts, and buying software and ringtones and such from these people, it doesn't matter how fast it is, it's going to suck.
post #5 of 90
All the hype of this and that and users' fail to read and understand the fact that AT&T does not guarantee any speed increases (certainly no guarantees of the highest speeds they advertise); AT&T only states that their system can attain said speeds.
post #6 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRussell View Post

Honestly, I don't even care so much about the specific technology used for wireless broadband, I just don't want the fucking cell companies to be the gatekeepers.

If in 5-10 years we're still paying for minutes, and getting overage charges, and signing 2-year contracts, and buying software and ringtones and such from these people, it doesn't matter how fast it is, it's going to suck.

This is why we all love WiMAX but don't know it yet. Its the alternative to the mobile phone hegemony, championed by Intel and one day by the entire computing industry. Phone companies suck really badly.
post #7 of 90
Quote:
AT&T said Wednesday it plans to boost the speed of its 3G wireless network to speeds of 20 megabits per second in 2009, paving the way for over-the-air downloads that are more than five times faster than what customers can achieve today.

So what you're saying is that when the network speeds are five times faster, you can download five times faster? I'm shocked.
post #8 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by merdhead View Post

This is why we all love WiMAX but don't know it yet. Its the alternative to the mobile phone hegemony, championed by Intel and one day by the entire computing industry. Phone companies suck really badly.

Championed by Intel, but run by Sprint....the suckiest phone company of them all. So dont tout WiMax as the savior just yet...
post #9 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by merdhead View Post

This is why we all love WiMAX but don't know it yet. Its the alternative to the mobile phone hegemony, championed by Intel and one day by the entire computing industry. Phone companies suck really badly.

WiMax has been a up and coming tech for so long now that I have very little interest in it now. I've made money on Clearwire (thank you Melgross) but the numerous deals that have fallen through and the excessive and up and down nature of the stock isn't looking promising.
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post #10 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

WiMax has been a up and coming tech for so long now that I have very little concern for it. I've made money on Clearwater (thank you Melgross) but the numerous deals taht have fallen through and the excessive and up and odwn noture of the stock isn't looking promising.

Yeah it takes a long time, but they're still ahead of the GSM people on 4G technology. I think the point is that its being pushed hard by a very large and powerful industry, much bigger and more capable that the phone companies and it will eventually compete with the phone companies and benefit us (the consumers).
post #11 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"It's clear to us that we are in the very early stages of what I would call a wireless date revolution," he said.

Revolution? I thought a lot of people were already dating wirelessly? I guess the increased bandwidth will allow for on-the-go HD video chats, but that's hardly a revolution...
Quote:
"So upside on further penetration is substantial," he said.

On second thought...
 
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post #12 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by auxio View Post

Revolution? I thought a lot of people were already dating wirelessly? I guess the increased bandwidth will allow for on-the-go HD video chats, but that's hardly a revolution...

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post #13 of 90
Quote:
"a clear and logical path" to 700MHz 4G access via the Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard in the 2010 timeframe

In typical Apple fanboy fashion, I'm eschewing the 3G iPhone and starting the online clamor for the 4G iPhone.

When do you think it will be released? Apple needs to get on their 4G game if they plan on enticing customers. Apple needs to get off their high horse and start work on the 4G iPhone.

If I buy a 3G iPhone this summer, I will sue Apple for tricking me into getting a 3G iPhone when the 4G one is only 2 or 3 years away.
post #14 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by merdhead View Post

Yeah it takes a long time, but they're still ahead of the GSM people on 4G technology. I think the point is that its being pushed hard by a very large and powerful industry, much bigger and more capable that the phone companies and it will eventually compete with the phone companies and benefit us (the consumers).

They do seem to be ahead in 4G right now, but I wonder if other 4G technology has the potential to be deployed faster and cheaper than WiMax. I guess we'll see shortly, I just hope it's a worldwide standard (or at least a system that is congruent among all national carriers), not the fractured system we currently have.
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post #15 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by macinthe408 View Post

In typical Apple fanboy fashion, I'm eschewing the 3G iPhone and starting the online clamor for the 4G iPhone.

When do you think it will be released? Apple needs to get on their 4G game if they plan on enticing customers. Apple needs to get off their high horse and start work on the 4G iPhone.

If I buy a 3G iPhone this summer, I will sue Apple for tricking me into getting a 3G iPhone when the 4G one is only 2 or 3 years away.

I'm sure there are some that are already calling HSPA an obsolete tech.
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post #16 of 90
I'll believe it when I see it. That's faster than DSL, cable and even FiOS. If they can manage 20Mbps or faster, I might consider dumping cable modem and look for a phone that can act as a high-speed modem for my computer. Although it would mean getting in bed with the devil again: AT&T.
post #17 of 90
How about getting reliable VOICE COVERAGE on the PA Turnpike? My girlfriend's Verizon Phone had 5/5 bars of EVDO service most of the way from Pittsburgh to Harrisburg, and I was lucky if I had any service at all.

post #18 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

WiMax has been a up and coming tech for so long now that I have very little concern for it. I've made money on Clearwater (thank you Melgross) but the numerous deals taht have fallen through and the excessive and up and odwn noture of the stock isn't looking promising.

I'm pretty sure you meant Clearwire (CLWR)...

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post #19 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRussell View Post

Honestly, I don't even care so much about the specific technology used for wireless broadband, I just don't want the fucking cell companies to be the gatekeepers.

If in 5-10 years we're still paying for minutes, and getting overage charges, and signing 2-year contracts, and buying software and ringtones and such from these people, it doesn't matter how fast it is, it's going to suck.

Jay man - don't be depressed like that. Someone NEEDS to provide a network and it aint going to be an NGO, e.V. , ASBL, VZW and whatever else does not a lucrative raison d'etre.
Building a network does cost money, they people who work on the network and for the network do cost money and so forth. Granted they make good money as well. But for third party services the market WILL auto regulate itself
post #20 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimXugle View Post

How about getting reliable VOICE COVERAGE on the PA Turnpike? My girlfriend's Verizon Phone had 5/5 bars of EVDO service most of the way from Pittsburgh to Harrisburg, and I was lucky if I had any service at all.


The real questions is what are you doing out there? Who wants to be in Harrisburg or Pittsburgh?

.

.

.

(Sorry, I'm from Philly)
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post #21 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRussell View Post

If in 5-10 years we're still paying for minutes, and getting overage charges, and signing 2-year contracts, and buying software and ringtones and such from these people, it doesn't matter how fast it is, it's going to suck.

This is another one of those things I can foresee the iPhone changing. Consider: the 3G iPhone is, by many reports, going to be sold unlocked worldwide except here. Demand here for the unlocked versions will be high so that you can use them on any carrier. As a result, doesn't that mean the flow of iPhones out of the U.S. is going to reverse and start them flowing in? Steve Jobs won't be able to stop that, and as a result you'll get non-AT&T carriers gladly giving you laxer plans so they can steal iPhone business away from AT&T. Don't expect this all to happen overnight, but it'd surprise me if you didn't see movement this way by 2009.
post #22 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post

The real questions is what are you doing out there? Who wants to be in Harrisburg or Pittsburgh?
(Sorry, I'm from Philly)

Maybe he wanted to see a hockey team that can score some goals.
(Don't get too mad--I'm from Philly too. Just disgruntled with the Flyers' lack of performance right about now....)
post #23 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


[...] further penetration is substantial," he said.


SHAZAM!
post #24 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post

The real questions is what are you doing out there? Who wants to be in Harrisburg or Pittsburgh?
(Sorry, I'm from Philly)

People who live in PA ?
post #25 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by ktappe View Post

This is another one of those things I can foresee the iPhone changing. Consider: the 3G iPhone is, by many reports, going to be sold unlocked worldwide except here. Demand here for the unlocked versions will be high so that you can use them on any carrier. As a result, doesn't that mean the flow of iPhones out of the U.S. is going to reverse and start them flowing in? Steve Jobs won't be able to stop that, and as a result you'll get non-AT&T carriers gladly giving you laxer plans so they can steal iPhone business away from AT&T. Don't expect this all to happen overnight, but it'd surprise me if you didn't see movement this way by 2009.

I don't expect this to happen in volume considering the current value of the dollar. I suspect that people will just buy here and risk unlocking.
post #26 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by ktappe View Post

and as a result you'll get non-AT&T carriers gladly giving you laxer plans so they can steal iPhone business away from AT&T. Don't expect this all to happen overnight, but it'd surprise me if you didn't see movement this way by 2009.

Old conundrum - if you want to CREATE a market exclusivity helps, if you want to GROW a market it doesn't.

AT&T and Apple have created a brilliant market and ecosystem. The Q is now how to scale it properly. But then again - T-Mobile is 'locked in' in Germany et al. so they will not be too hostile in the US. Verizon (aka Vodafone) just came on board as a non exclusive partner for quite a flurry of countries. Sprint cant run the iPhone anyway.
I dont think you are going to see too much competition in the US.

But welcome to Europe....
post #27 of 90
But will the service cost an arm and a leg? I'm hoping that the outrageous monthly fees that AT&T expects us to pay is because they are building infrastructure and not lining their pockets.
post #28 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

They do seem to be ahead in 4G right now, but I wonder if other 4G technology has the potential to be deployed faster and cheaper than WiMax. I guess we'll see shortly, I just hope it's a worldwide standard (or at least a system that is congruent among all national carriers), not the fractured system we currently have.

The benefit is that the computing industry understands scale, so they will be looking for a worldwide standard market. Anything wireless is going to mean there is some international variation but I think the hardware will try to support it.

WiMAX started rolling out last year, by the time the GSM people start their rollout, which looks to me like 2010 WiMAX will have had a few years start. WiMAX has the added advantage of being integrated into new Intel laptop chips and probably other Intel products. They're also cutting to the chase which is mobile data. You'll note that LTE is an all IP technology, so all calls will be VOIP, so to speak. Phone companies are backward looking and wedded to voice and SMS, and over-charging for it, that will be their eventual undoing.
post #29 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRussell View Post

Honestly, I don't even care so much about the specific technology used for wireless broadband, I just don't want the fucking cell companies to be the gatekeepers.

If in 5-10 years we're still paying for minutes, and getting overage charges, and signing 2-year contracts, and buying software and ringtones and such from these people, it doesn't matter how fast it is, it's going to suck.

The US 700MHz spectrum auction was designed to make sure that anyone can sell devices for it, so that the service provider can't demand that only their crippled, self-branded device use the service, as such, apps and media for those devices should be free except for the bits that you use if it's downloaded through that spectrum.

I really don't know about making it unlimited though. Unlimited high speed internet through wires and fiber is different than doing it through the airwaves because of how the signal is confined by the cable/fiber vs. broadcasting everyone's signals over wide areas. That said, there are some unlimited plans, it's more expensive. AT&T has a mostly unlimited iPhone plan, the only limit is 200 SMS messages, which is pretty absurd to me.
post #30 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by merdhead View Post

This is why we all love WiMAX but don't know it yet. Its the alternative to the mobile phone hegemony, championed by Intel and one day by the entire computing industry. Phone companies suck really badly.

WiMax hasn't lived up to its over the top hype. In fact, one Australian company that rolled out WiMax lambasted it at the last WiMax conference because it's not really working out on a wide scale. Couple that with the delays in getting anything deployed, delays in inclusion in even Intel's consumer wireless chipsets, it's an open question whether it will be eclipsed before it can catch on.
post #31 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by ktappe View Post

This is another one of those things I can foresee the iPhone changing. Consider: the 3G iPhone is, by many reports, going to be sold unlocked worldwide except here. Demand here for the unlocked versions will be high so that you can use them on any carrier. As a result, doesn't that mean the flow of iPhones out of the U.S. is going to reverse and start them flowing in? Steve Jobs won't be able to stop that, and as a result you'll get non-AT&T carriers gladly giving you laxer plans so they can steal iPhone business away from AT&T. Don't expect this all to happen overnight, but it'd surprise me if you didn't see movement this way by 2009.

If anything, the iPhone's price in the US will make it such that unlocked or not, it's always cheaper to buy here.
post #32 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by stockwhiz View Post

, but run by Sprint....the suckiest phone company of them all.

If it's true, then it's probably not by much. All the US phone companies are problematic, and Sprint is part of a pretty tight grouping. Every carrier has an overall satisfaction / dissatisfaction rating that differs at most by maybe a percent or two from the others. This is from a wide survey of every region, not individual anecdotes.
post #33 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

WiMax hasn't lived up to its over the top hype. In fact, one Australian company that rolled out WiMax lambasted it at the last WiMax conference because it's not really working out on a wide scale. Couple that with the delays in getting anything deployed, delays in inclusion in even Intel's consumer wireless chipsets, it's an open question whether it will be eclipsed before it can catch on.

Yes everyone pronounced Bluetooth dead several times and it eventually became huge. Why? Because it's a good idea. So is WiMAX. LTE, the 4G version of GSM is realistically not going to be rolled out before next decade and maybe 2013. Given how long it took mobile phones to take it I think you can cut WiMAX some slack.

Intel are still committed, delays are typical, doesn't mean it won't happen.
post #34 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

If it's true, then it's probably not by much. All the US phone companies are problematic, and Sprint is part of a pretty tight grouping. Every carrier has an overall satisfaction / dissatisfaction rating that differs at most by maybe a percent or two from the others. This is from a wide survey of every region, not individual anecdotes.

It should be noted that Sprint's main contribution to the new WiMAX venture is lending their base station poles to the enterprise.
post #35 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by merdhead View Post

It should be noted that Sprint's main contribution to the new WiMAX venture is lending their base station poles to the enterprise.

My impression from the stories was that they're handling all the marketing, data and billing too.
post #36 of 90
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3GPP_Long_Term_Evolution

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post #37 of 90
download speed? soooo what bfd.....the phones would have to be smarter....larger storage and new chips....what percent of phone now can use this? is this a way for att to more efficiently use voice and data? how does it help the consumer with such tiny screens and barely able chipsets and memory? what sell more music, stream tv? is it a technology chasing its tail. to utilize it wouldn't 99% of people have to get new handsets? and they would have to be convinced to spend the extra dollars. they have to make the contracts cheaper i can see it for some business types but for consumers? what's the sell? and it will only be small pockets of "great download speed" iphone 1 consumers will need to upgrade.
yea sure what's in it for "me" the regular consumer
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post #38 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by NOFEER View Post

download speed? soooo what bfd.....the phones would have to be smarter....larger storage and new chips....what percent of phone now can use this?
<...>
i can see it for some business types but for consumers? what's the sell? and it will only be small pockets of "great download speed" <...>
yea sure what's in it for "me" the regular consumer

I'm not sure what your complaint is, you seem to be all over the map with your questions. Do you think that high download speeds won't matter? Or are you mad that you will have to buy a new phone or that you will have to spend more money to take advantage of it?

Either way, you are thinking small. In reference to the bolded part--that is what everybody said about cell phones 15 years ago. But every advance made back then (for "business types") has been incorporated into the phones that the vast majority of "regular consumers" have been using for years. Maybe you won't have access to this next year, but surely you will on down the line. Maybe the phones will be unable to take full advantage right away, but we can see how fast the phone market can adapt--just look at what will be available only 1 year after the iPhone rollout versus what was available before!
I say, bring it on! I look forward to having too much downloading capacity...
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post #39 of 90
Review: Which 3G network is the best?


Sprint Mobile Broadband, the slowest of the three cellular data networks delivered on average 494Kbit/sec. download speeds to my notebook. That's roughly a third slower than AT&T's network. Its average upload speed was 294Kbit/sec. and the network's top speed was 1.2Mbit/sec. It connected in 3.7 seconds. Since it doesn't have a built-in battery, the radio reduced the runtime of the battery in my system by an hour.

A midrange performer, Verizon's BroadBand Connect network averaged 592Kbit/sec. for downloads and upload 232Kbit/sec. for uploads. Peak speed was 1.3Mbit/sec. On the downside, it took a relatively pokey 5.6 seconds to connect. To its credit, the modem only used 20 minutes of my notebook's battery life, making it the one to choose if staying online longer is most important.

In tests, AT&T's LaptopConnect network left its competitors in the digital dust, with average download speeds of 755Kbit/sec. and average upload speeds of 484Kbit/sec. The peak download speed was 1.6Mbit/sec. It connected in just 3.0 seconds and loaded the test Web page in 0.228 seconds. On the downside, the cellular modem ate up 40 minutes of battery time, midway between Sprint's hour and Verizon's 20 minutes.

ComputerWorld
post #40 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimXugle View Post

How about getting reliable VOICE COVERAGE on the PA Turnpike? My girlfriend's Verizon Phone had 5/5 bars of EVDO service most of the way from Pittsburgh to Harrisburg, and I was lucky if I had any service at all.


That's not good. I drive that route a lot myself and that could be an issue. I've been holding out for a 3G iPhone. I currently have Sprint and pretty much always have service along that same route.
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