AT&T Beams Up HSUPA  

AT&T Mobility says it will deploy High Speed Uplink Packet Access (HSUPA) in its currrent 3G network so users can enjoy uplink speeds between 500 and 800 Kbps.

According to AT&T, HSUPA will be available in all but the few remaining AT&T 3G markets and will be included in all future deployments. The new upload speeds complement AT&T’s 3G download capabilities, which currently offer up to 1.4 Mbps across all markets for customers who have capable devices, such as AT&T’s LaptopConnect wireless modems.

AT&T Video Share, which allows users to share live video over wireless phones while on a voice call, is one application that really shines with faster upstream speeds.

The Apple 3G iPhone will likely be announced on the 9th and released by AT&T on the 18th or 19th of June 2008. AT&T Video Share is sure to be a featured attraction.

“The ability to quickly upload large files from a laptop is no longer a luxury — it’s a necessity,” said Kris Rinne, senior vice president of Architecture and Planning for AT&T’s wireless operations. “By fully deploying HSUPA across our 3G footprint, we not only meet the current needs of our customers but also lay the path for our continued evolution to even faster wireless broadband capabilities.”

HSUPA adds both the upstream capacity and low latency necessary to support applications like VoIP, videoconferencing and multiplayer gaming. Its CDMA counterpart, EV-DO Revision A, will be used by Sprint to extend its Direct Connect for push-to-talk.

AT&T says they will have invested more than $20 billion in network improvements and upgrades between 2005 and 2008. AT&T recently shut down its older TDMA network, allowing the company to reuse valuable 850 MHz spectrum to expand and enhance 3G markets.

AT&T plans to adopt LTE (Long Term Evolution) technology to reach even higher speeds in the long term.

Computerworld tested cellular modem options from AT&T, Verizon and Sprint.

3G Networks — Test Results

AT&T Sprint Verizon
Peak download speed 1.6Mbit/sec. 1.2Mbit/sec. 1.3Mbit/sec.
Average download speed 755Kbit/sec. 494Kbit/sec. 592Kbit/sec.
Average upload speed 484Kbit/sec. 294Kbit/sec. 232Kbit/sec.
Connection time 3.0 seconds 3.7 seconds 5.6 seconds
Time to load Web page .228 seconds .224 seconds .230 seconds
Battery life lowered by 40 minutes 1 hour 20 minutes

Without a two-year contract, AT&T’s top DataConnect plan costs $80/month, while Sprint’s average upload speed was 294Kbit/sec with Verizon turning in similar speeds. All the cellular carriers now have a 5 GB cap. Speed and reliability depend on a variety of conditions, such as how far you are from a cell tower, number of users connected in your vicinity, and how much data they’re moving.

GSMworld, Engadget and lists devices that can utilize the upstream speed. AT&T’s LTE, the next evolutionary step for cellular providers, is like 2-3 years down the road.

One more thing.

If Apple wanted to offer a $399 Mobile WiMAX/WiFi device based on their phone-less iTouch, nobody could stop them. Will an Atom-based iTouch for Sprint/Clearwire customers be announced? It seems unlikely doesn’t it — but never say never. Later, maybe. Sprint’s Instinct will be available June 20.

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