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AT&T to speed up HSDPA, add dozens of new markets

ORLANDO, Fla.-AT&T Inc.’s wireless division is testing an upgrade to its HSDPA network that the carrier says will dramatically increase uplink speeds.
According to Kris Rinne, AT&T’s executive vice president of network planning and architecture, the company will be rolling out the software upgrade over the course of 2007 and will likely begin offering compatible PC cards by mid-year.
HSDPA focuses on downlink speeds, and the HSUPA upgrade speeds the uplink from the device to the network; AT&T’s wireless network would then be considered HSPA. Rinne said that from current uplink peak speeds of 384 kilobits per second and averages of 150 to 200 kbps, the HSUPA upgrade will put uplink peak speeds in the range of 1.5 megabits per second.
AT&T executives said separately yesterday that the carrier expects to add another 58 to 65 HSDPA markets by the end of the year.
The company continued an emphasis on convergence. The telco said that it had made a $3 million deal with Netherlands-based Hagemeyer for increased network capacity for network services, extension to an additional 137 sites around the U.S. and implementation of IP telephony at 41 locations as part of laying the groundwork for a Voice over Internet Protocol rollout over several years. The company is exploring bundles of wireless and VoIP service for customers who live outside of AT&T’s traditional landline service area.
Meanwhile, the company will also run a trial of mobile advertising in the second quarter to test some types of mobile ads and study their impact on the customer experience.
One concern mentioned was that certain types of advertising might end up hurting the wireless business, such as discouraging customers from purchasing content if not integrated properly.

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