It might not yet have its network issues straightened out, but its moving forward anyway with plans to boost speeds from 3.6MBps to 7.2 MBps. This would likely be a final speed boost before the company moves to evolved 3G and its selected 4G technology, LTE.
Most devices already have the capability to be able to handle the current bandwidth specs. It has begun testing devices on its two 7.2MBps-capable test networks on track to debut the higher speeds in the near future. While the current 3G technologies could theoretically support speeds up to 14.4MBps, AT&T says those higher speeds have been fraught with technical glitches.
Thus, it plans to jump right to HSPA+, which would mean the next jump would take data speeds to 21MBps. With LTE’s commercial rollout expected to happen in 2011, this quick ramp up in speed is likely to happen over the next 18 months or so.
With this new data-centric focus, AT&T’s business is also beginning to change ever so slightly. At CTIA, the company in presentations talked about data-only devices that the carrier will begin to offer. It has even begun to mull pay-as-you-go plans, where the user only pays for the amount of data he/she uses.
While better speed is always great, in the end quality of service is more important. I sure hope AT&T puts that before any speed boost because it won’t mean a hill of beans if you can’t get on the network in the first place!
[Hat tip: Telephony Online]