01:31 PM

AT&T Boosts 3G In Colorado

The wireless carrier is fighting growing complaints about its 3G data coverage by deploying 850-MHz spectrum.

AT&T is aiming to improve its 3G coverage in Colorado by deploying additional wireless spectrum in the 850-Mhz band.

The second-largest U.S. carrier said the move should increase 3G coverage and reception in the areas near Boulder, Denver, Fort Collins, Greeley, and Loveland. This is part of a larger push by AT&T to improve its mobile data network, as it is planning to add nearly 1,900 cell sites nationwide this year, and it has been deploying 850-MHz spectrum in large markets like San Francisco and New York.

"We know many customers depend on wireless as their primary communications connection to work, family, and friends," said Jace Barbin, VP for AT&T's wireless unit in the Rocky Mountain region, in a statement. "We're enhancing our network every day to help customers do more with and get more from their wireless connections."

The mobile data enhancements come as AT&T is facing criticism about its 3G network from a small, but vocal, group of subscribers. Rival Verizon Wireless is even picking up on this sentiment, as it has started a television campaign touting its larger 3G coverage maps. Thanks to data-intensive devices like the iPhone, BlackBerry, and apps like Pandora and XM Radio, AT&T said it has seen its mobile data traffic grow more than 18 times over the last two years.

In order to cope with the growing demand for mobile data, AT&T plans to invest up to $18 billion this year, with much of it going to improvements to its 3G network. The company is also upgrading its 3G network to High Speed Packet Access 7.2 technology, and this is expected to give users 7.2 Mbps downlink speeds. After the HSPA 7.2 upgrade is completed in 2011, AT&T plans to deploy 4G networks based on Long-Term Evolution technology.

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