The company will upgrade its 3G EVDO network from Revision 0 to Revision A, potentially enabling customers to upload files 5 to 10 times faster than before.
Existing Alltel 3G customers have upload speeds on average of 50 to 70 Kbps, with bursts up to 144 Kbps. With Rev. A, users will have an average upload speed of 500-800 Kbps, with bursts up to 1.8 Mbps.
The increased uplink speed and Rev. A's low latency creates the potential for Alltel to enable features such as push-to-talk over VoIP, and video conferencing on future devices.
Download speeds will also increase from a maximum of 2.4 Mbps on the old network to 3.1 Mbps on the enhanced network.
"Rev. A is the next step in Alltel's commitment to provide our customers with the fast wireless broadband service they have come to expect in their business and personal lives," said Jeff Fox, CEO of Alltel, in a statement.
The company said it plans an initial rollout of the enhanced 3G network to 18 market areas that will cover dozens of cities, including Charlotte, N.C., New Orleans, and Phoenix. Additionally, Alltel said it will increase its existing EVDO network.
Alltel, which has the largest geographical coverage of any of the U.S. mobile operators, currently has 3G coverage in 76% of its wireless footprint. That will expand to 82% by the end of 2008, the company said.
The expected upgrade also puts portions of Alltel's network in line with the 3G network of Verizon Wireless, which announced this month plans to purchase Alltel for $28 billion.