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?