AT&T Supercharging Network in Advance of Next Gen iPhone?

Apple Insider reports that AT&T is trying to increase the coverage, reliability, and speed of it's 3G network in anticipation of Apple's next gen iPhone hardware coming this summer (perhaps to be introduced, like last year, at WWDC in June?).

AT&T's current 3G supports up to 3.6Mb/s, though AT&T has said they have the infrastructure to go to 7.2Mb/s, with 14.4 and 20Mb/s feasible within a couple of years. As for the iPhone specifically:

Apple has been evaluating a portion of the network upgrade already accessible to its engineers for testing purposes and is genuinely impressed with its speed. A person familiar with the situation commented that Apple iPhone engineers have "never gotten pages to load as fast as they were loading on the new routers."

This would follow on AT&T's EDGE "plus" upgrade before the original iPhone 2G launched, and their acceleration of HSPA last year before the iPhone 3G debuted.

So, stronger, better, faster, longer... Sounds good, but can they deliver?

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 16 comments. Add yours.

Robin says:

I'm loving some of the speculation for new iPhone but it doesn't quell my desire for one, which isn't going to do my bank balance any good.
P.S. Loving the Golden Age and Silver Age iPhones.
Nice.

Joe says:

Will the Iphone 3g get the faster speeds too, or does it require different hardware?

shollomon says:

ATT says it has a network with 3.6Mb/S throughput, just not where anyone lives or works.

jeffdc5 says:

thasts bs AT&T network is a damn joke it makes me hate my iPhone. They already gave me 20 days credit because I complain every other day to them that my phone is useless if I don't have wifi. I live and work in New York city it's not exactly a small town. As bad as it might be I'm seriously considering the storm just to get verizons Reliable network

Stephen Earley says:

hmm wonder will o2 ireland do the same? i no 3 is upgrading there service to 8.5Mb/s in ireland, so hopefully o2 follows.

Dyvim says:

I'd be happy just to get 1Mb/s in real world use. Usually I get 200-300Kb/s (according to the iNetwork Test web page). Heck, I'd be happy(ish) if that got doubled to 400-600 Kb/s!

Sean says:

Hey. It's kinda random but I thought I'd post it on the most recent page.. SO!! Does anybody think (or know) that EA Games delayed it's sims3 and need for speed releases to June to have it run on an hd iPhone? Because I think that the fact that they delayed it to the same month as the new iPhone is kinda coinkidinky..... Please reply!!

fassy says:

Great news! Soon, when service for 1/2 of California gets knocked out, it can fail twice as fast!

Gib says:

Att needs something. I'm waiting to get the iPhone this summer but all this bad att news is really disheartening

will says:

at&t needs to follow through on getting 3g access everywhere before they up the system in place that already have 3g. If you look at the foot print of att 3g compared to verizon you would laugh. Apple and att think that they are getting sued alot now just wait untill they promise something again that they cant back up.

iPhone 3G says:

Please can we from time to time get some O2 news? Please.

Rayman2170 says:

The iPhone doesn't even use the full 3.6Mb/s we have now. Apple capped it at 1.4Mb I believe, for battery life.
So unless the new 2,1 iPhone has some serial battery pwnage I doubt we will see the fruits of AT&Ts labors.
What I would really like to see is full speed wi-fi, so i can surf the web just as fast as my PC. currently I only get an average of 2Mb/s that's not even 802.11b speed. so I guess I actually want better battery life or (I know it'll never happen) a removable battery, to allow apple to lift the speed limits on the iPhone.

Bla1ze says:

"Apple has been evaluating a portion of the network upgrade already accessible to its engineers for testing purposes and is genuinely impressed with its speed."
Now multiply that by the number of users who have iPhones and see how slow it gets :P

nyc_rock says:

Love ATT. You guys want a laugh? Check out zip 10916 on thier coverage viewer. Then click 3g. Is someone at ATT mad at my town?

Lanisan says:

I find it ridiculous that I pay for something I don't get. Per their ad's Largest 3G Network (small print, globally). First, how many countries besides the USA promote their (SLOW) 3G network outside of their own country? Japan, Korea, Much of Europe had 3G a year if not 2 or 3 ago. I don't know of any other company that cares (by means of advertisement)if you get HSDPA all over the world. So AT&T wonderfully alienates its customers... 3G WOO.. if & when it might possibly maybe become eventually available. BUT, you get to pay MORE for a phone that's supposedly subsidized. You also pay more for the plan even when cheaper plans become available to non iPhone customers. (which new plans were recently introduced regarding data family & text plans, far cheaper than the iphone plans) Lastly, update.. ALLL PHONES ARE SUBSIDIZED! Why is it AT&T thinks that they're special enough to include a clause that says an iPhone user cannot change their plan during their 2 year agreement, but everyone else who buys a subsidized phone, can? I read another poster stating AT&T is getting sued. If so, tell me where to sign up. I pay for something I do not get. An iPhone 3G. The next gen iPhone WILL be out before the supposed & forecasted August 2009 launch of 3G in the Wisconsin Fox Cities area. So by then, I'll have paid for nearly 9 months of 3G service (which I've only gotten by going 90 plus miles away) and only had 3G access 3 or 4 times for less than a total of 5 days combined. I've called several times to see if I could change my plan & reduce my data or remove it all together. I was told no, its contractural and part of the agreement. I have friends IN a 3G area who also called and asked the same thing, yet they were told the exact opposite. Sure cancel the data plan no problem. This is a direct example of how their money goes to CEO's, (and stockholders) and management instead of infrastructure & consistent customer service. Perhaps my post is the most direct attack against, however for all the iPhone 3G users our there who get poor, shotty or NO 3G service at all, I'm sure my frustration is well heard.