AT&T - America's Fastest 3G Network Getting Faster with HSPA 7.2

ipod_touch_faster_iphone_3g

AT&T says they're America's fastest 3G network and Computerworld has recently confirmed it, but now it looks like they want to take it up another notch -- to HSPA 7.2.

The upgraded network platform could allow for theoretical peak speeds of 7.2Mbps.

And this well in advance of their planned transition to 4G LTE networking in early 2011. Curiously, AT&T updated their EDGE platform just before the original iPhone 2G was released, and their 3G platform was made -- okay, slightly less thin -- before the iPhone 3G launched. So whatever could be prompting this latest speed boost?

(Thanks to Phil from WMExperts for the tip!)

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 19 comments. Add yours.

MattyFresh says:

dam i would llove to see 7meg because 3g where i live sucksssss

OmariJames says:

I predict Verizon spending an extra million on advertising " Americas fast 3G network " . Smh.
No one started using 3G until the iPhone 3G came out.
If they actually said EVDO it wouldn't make any sense since no one really knows what that means. People just like leeching off apples sucess.

Sil3ntrid3r11 says:

I just hope this upgrade will help voice connectivity as well as data. My calls are always going in and out regardless of my service level. Does anyone know if faster data means richer, more consistent voice?

Moe NYC says:

you will never see 7mbps. You will probably see 2 or 2.5 (and that's a big maybe. Now, on my 3G the best I've gotten is 850kbps (not even 1mbps). And I'm in the heart of NYC. at&t is a joke.
I do hope that this at least brings my connection to at least 1.5 mb.

JustinHorn says:

@Moe
I recently spent a 5 days in NYC (beginning of May) and the 3G was really bad. Sometimes it showed I had a full signal, but it would not connect to the internet at all. When it did work it wasn't as fast as it should be, even after ATT said they added a bunch of new towers for NYC.
So far at home in Miami I am very happy with the 3G service. It's really flat here and there probably aren't as many iPhones fighting for BW. I usually get around 1.5mbps, so I think with a theoretical 7.2 I should get close to 3mbps which would be really awesome to have on a cell phone!
Just did a quick test on my3gspeed.com (speed test site I created) and got only got 0.7mbps, but it is kind of stormy out so that may have something to do with it.

AJ says:

I'm getting 1.65 Mbps here in Alberta with Rogers. :)

cg says:

I agree. 3g in NYC is atrocious, often as low as 200 kbps and never up to 1000. How disappointing.

oneAwake says:

@OmariJames
Apple/ATT will love to see that their marketing spin has worked on a few. If you honestly believe 3G started with the iphone, I have a bridge to sell you in Alaska. Verizon and Sprint had their 3G networks up years before ATT. You may not know what EVDO is, a lot of other people do. Actually, as of now Sprints and Verizons 3G is really 3.5G.

fassy says:

I would much prefer AT&T improve network coverage and reliability before speed. My data speeds are at least adequate, but in my particular neck of the woods (San Diego, not exactly the boondocks), I get far too many bad connections and/or dropped calls. The "i" part is ok, but the "phone" part needs work. :)

Mariano Stokle says:

Just to clarify: 7.2 Mbps is the limit of 3G for burst data under certain ideal conditions of signal noise, user movement, distance from base station, etc. You will never get that in real life conditions. You may get 2 Mbps if the base station is not oversuscribed, the transmission from the Base station to the Core Network is well engineered and the internet access from the Core Network is also well engineered...Even if they upgrade the 3G Access network to the latest 3G standards, they need to upgrade the remaining network as well...

frog says:

The network here is 21mbps, they say you'll see upto 8.5mbps speeds on a regular basis. 3.6 to 7.2 saw almost no real world difference when they did that upgrade here a year or so back.

p2hero says:

I live in maryland is 1.75 mbps good ?????

icebike says:

So does anyone know for sure if HSPA 7.2 is compatible with our existing 3G UMTS devices and the Current and Planned OS releases 2.2.1 and 3.0?
Or does this require a chipset change in the next iPhone release?

talon46 says:

@oneAwake
I think what OmariJames was vaguely referring to was the use of the term "3G" in marketing by the national wireless carriers. I have to agree, and I've been thinking about this the last few months. It seems that marketing among the national wireless carriers never use to talk about 3G networks until Apple made "3G" into a buzzword. Then, it seems, Verizon and Sprint jumped on the bandwagon and started advertising about their "3G" networks, as well. I can't recall exactly, but I feel like "3G" was never mentioned in their marketing before the iPhone 3G was introduced.

LonerATO says:

@icebike look for it to be a complete chipset replacement

icebike says:

@Loaner:
This story in the Seattle Times confirms your suspicions:http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/brierdudley/2009270924_brier28.

As for devices, AT&T said 3G 7.2 compatible phones and laptop cards will be available "later this year." Taber couldn't say exactly when Seattle or any particular region will get the faster network speeds.
Faster is better, but the inability to upgrade expensive devices with software doesn't do much for the allure of 3G. Maybe they should label the next generation of hardware 3.2G or something so people don't get confused.

al3x says:

first off!!! i live in the OC where 3G should be really good!!!! but no i currently own the iphone 3g and oh does it suck!!!!! i cnt even keep my 3g on cuz when i receive a phone call on 3g it would always say call failed in a matter of mins!!!! i call the att and apple reps and they tell me to turn off 3g for better connectivity!!!! im like ok i had the 1st generation iphone and i upgraded for the faster 3g service!!! and knw your telling me to turn off 3g and pay an extra 10 dollars a month!!!??? yea i was extremely upset!!!!

Olivia Fowler says:

the other day i went on a trip. i didn't take a map, i didn't phone the hotel to ask directions, i didn't ask the rental car person how to exit the airport. i'd never been to the town but found the perfect cup of coffee, the most laid back bar, and a great chopped salad without opening a single guide book. I even managed to make some phone calls - all thanks to at&t and the iphone. i'm amazed every day that i can do things that make my life so much easier. is there room for improvement? sure. but this is pretty fantastic stuff we're doing with these mobile devices.

Bob Simpson says:

I get 4.5 Mbps consistently in Ohio. And we don't even have 7.2 yet.