AT&T Positions Its Broadband Networks For iPhone Upgrade - InformationWeek

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AT&T Positions Its Broadband Networks For iPhone Upgrade

The company's nearly completed national HSPA broadband infrastructure will be ready for a 3G iPhone.

In announcements that could have implications for iPhone users, AT&T reported this week that it has nearly completed deployment of its high speed packet access nationwide network and also announced that users of its wireless Laptop Connect cards will have access to the firm's 17,000 Wi-Fi hotspots.

The company has been gradually adding to its HSPA network and said that the HSPA's HSUPA protocol and its HSDPA technology will be the first fully deployed HSPA broadband infrastructure installed on a nationwide basis in the U.S. The technology is an extension of the GSM infrastructure pioneered primarily by Nokia and is considered a way station on AT&T's path to super-high-speed LTE broadband infrastructures, which aren't likely to be available for a few years.

With the HSUPA technology, AT&T 3G users can use uplink speeds between 500 and 800 Kbps, the company said.

"The ability to quickly upload large files from a laptop is no longer a luxury -- it's a necessity," said Kris Rinne, senior VP of architecture and planning for AT&T's wireless operations, in a statement.

With new iPhone models expected to be unveiled during the week of June 9 by Apple and their general availability expected shortly thereafter, the HSPA network will be in position should any of the new iPhone models have HSPA capability. AT&T is one of the national networks that have had exclusive deals with Apple to offer the iconic phone.

Some European countries, however, are breaking the exclusivity arrangement, with multiple providers offering iPhones. Recent unconfirmed reports suggest that among the new iPhone models will be an unlocked phone that will be usable on different networks.

As for AT&T's $59.99-a-month Laptop Connect card service, the system can be used in 17,000 AT&T Wi-Fi hotspots without extra charge. AT&T's Wi-Fi hotspots are also available without additional charge to users of qualifying AT&T broadband services.

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