02:22 PM

AT&T Boosts 3G In NY

The wireless operator is deploying 850-MHz spectrum to increase 3G coverage for its smartphone and mobile broadband users in New York and New Jersey.

AT&T said Tuesday it will be boosting its mobile data coverage in New York City and Long Island, N.Y., and New Jersey by deploying 850-MHz spectrum for 3G use at more than 1,600 cell tower sites.

The second-largest mobile operator said the move would increase connectivity, performance, and in-building 3G coverage. The carrier is also trying to address concerns from a small, but vocal, crowd that complains about mobile data coverage in major metropolitan areas.

"Where we deployed additional 850 MHz spectrum, we saw an immediate increase in wireless data activity across the AT&T 3G network in those areas," said Tom DeVito, VP at AT&T, in a statement. "The additional spectrum helps enhance the 3G network so that our customers have the best experience when they make a call, check an e-mail, or surf the Internet on their AT&T device."

AT&T also recently boosted 3G coverage in San Francisco by deploying 850-MHz spectrum, and this could help quiet the growing concern with its network quality, particularly for iPhone owners. Improving 3G reception for the iPhone could be particularly important because it has become a major driver of AT&T's new customer adoption, and reports continue to swirl that Apple will offer an iPhone-like device for rivals like Verizon Wireless as soon as next year.

The move is also part of the mobile operator's larger efforts to improve its mobile data network, particularly as more of its customers use it for smartphones and 3G data modems. The carrier is aiming to invest up to $18 billion in 2009, including upgrading its mobile data network to High Speed Packet Access 7.2 technology. The HSPA 7.2 upgrade is expected to begin in the fourth quarter and be completed by 2011.

Part of the growth in the smartphone market will be for enterprise use, and this can quickly bring up multiple questions about security and mobility policies. InformationWeek analyzed how businesses can lock down data when it's on the move, and the report can be downloaded here (registration required).

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