We'd mentioned previously that AT&T is upgrading the ole rabbit-eared 3G network for Apple's upcoming next generation iPhone, and WMExperts covered it yesterday, but it's worth surfacing the details:

AT&T Mobility VP Scott McElroy says software updates will double the downstream speed to 7.2 megabits per second and are already being tested in two markets [...] But AT&T's looking past that and toward HSPA+, which will increase speeds to 21 Mb/s. And looking even further into the future, tests with the 4G LTE standard should begin sometime next year.

A helpful commenter, Will, gave us the skinny on those phat pipes after the last podcast:

  • Plain ‘ol 3G refers to the original WCDMA specs which gives a max throughput of 384 kbps.
  • 3.5G in the UMTS world commonly refers to HSDPA which is already up and running.
  • "3.75G" - 3GPP Revision 6 - HSDPA (max of 14.4Mbps) and HSUPA (max of 5.76Mbps), known together as HSPA
  • "3.9G" - 3GPP Revision 7 - HSDPA (max of 42Mbps) and HSUPA (max of 11Mbps), known as HSPA+

Thanks Will. Well, by any other name, we hope these upgrades not only give iPhone users blazing fast speeds, but better reliability. Doesn't matter how fast you go if you can't connect, right?