AT&T Expands NYC 3G Capacity

New York City's long-suffering AT&T customers should be seeing some relief, according to the US carrier. A bump to 7.2Mbps HSPA at all mobile sites across all five boroughs should mean a 47 per cent improvement in voice call quality. So... has it?

There's no question that AT&T's been making an effort to keep up with demand, but any improvements have been so incremental that they're hard to notice for individual users. Today's announcement - which also includes a layer of 850MHz spectrum that should help in-building coverage - seems to promise more, though, and faster.

But does it? Hard to say on day one. If you're in NYC, though, keep an ear out for improved service. And if you're in San Francisco - AT&T's other pit of despair - keep twiddling those thumbs, waiting for an overhaul of your own.

AT&T Expands Wireless Capacity for 3G Mobile Broadband Network in Manhattan and Throughout NYC

Additional Spectrum Allocated for 3G Voice and Data Applications

NEW YORK, June 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — AT&T* today announced the completion of a local initiative to increase the wireless capacity of its third generation (3G) mobile broadband network in Manhattan as well as the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens. As a result of this upgrade, customers in these areas are expected to experience improved 3G wireless voice and data connectivity and performance, especially during peak hours.

The network enhancement includes the addition of new layers of frequency, also known as "carriers," to more efficiently manage available spectrum and increase 3G capacity. The additions have been applied to nearly all cell sites in Manhattan and in other areas as needed throughout the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn. The result is an increased allocation of network resources for AT&T's 3G network to support ever-growing demand for mobile broadband services.

"Our goal is pretty simple: in the city that never sleeps, we're working 24/7 to make sure our customers have a great experience every time they make a call, check e-mail, download a song or video, or surf the Internet on their AT&T device," said Tom DeVito, vice president and general manager for AT&T in NY and NJ. "Adding more capacity to cell sites is just one way we are doing that."

AT&T recently deployed a WiFi hot zone in Times Square to help AT&T customers stay connected in "America's Crossroads," one of the busiest locations in the world.

Wireless data traffic on the AT&T network has grown more than 5,000 percent from 2007 to 2009, largely attributed to the increasing popularity of advanced smartphones and the performance of AT&T's 3G network, the nation's fastest. Our network teams are enhancing network capacity, capabilities and performance to keep up with unprecedented demand for mobile services.

In New York City, we've added a layer of high-performing 850 MHz spectrum to deploy more radio capacity and enhance in-building coverage throughout the city. As of the first quarter of 2010, we've seen two consecutive quarters of strong voice quality improvements in New York according to internal measurements. In Manhattan, quality improved 47 percent quarter over quarter.

Additionally, as of the first quarter of 2010 our national 3G average data download speeds are up 25 percent versus a year ago based on internal data.

Earlier this year, AT&T completed a software upgrade at 3G cell sites nationwide that prepares the nation's fastest 3G network for even faster speeds. The deployment of High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA) 7.2 technology is the first of multiple initiatives in AT&T's network enhancement strategy designed to provide customers with an enhanced mobile broadband experience, both today and well into the future. Faster 3G speeds are scheduled to become available this year and in 2011 on a market by market basis as AT&T combines the new technology with the increased deployment of high-speed backhaul connections to cell sites, primarily with fiber-optic technology. Late this year, we plan to upgrade our network to HSPA+, the latest generation of our 3G platform.

AT&T's 3G mobile broadband network is based on the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) family of technologies that includes GSM and UMTS, the most widely used wireless network platforms in the world. AT&T has the best international coverage of any U.S. wireless provider, delivering voice service in over 220 countries and data service in more than 195 countries. AT&T also offers voice and data roaming coverage on 130 major cruise ships, as well as 3G services in 115 countries.