AT&T today announced that it has invested nearly $65 million from 2008 through the 3rd quarter of 2009 to complete a substantial upgrade of its local 3G wireless network in the greater San Francisco Bay Area with the launch of additional wireless spectrum in the 850 MHz band. As a result of this upgrade, local customers are expected to experience better 3G wireless connectivity, performance and enhanced in-building wireless coverage. The enhancement also increases network capacity, and is intended to support the ever-growing demand for 3G mobile broadband service. In the greater Bay Area, AT&T upgraded close to 850 cell sites as part of this enhancement, the majority coming in the 3rd quarter of 2009.
This network enhancement is one part of AT&T’s ongoing efforts to drive innovation by investing to deliver the benefits of smartphones and mobile broadband for customers. More smartphone customers have chosen AT&T over any U.S. competitor, resulting in wireless traffic on the AT&T network that has quadrupled over the past year. This growth includes a volume of smartphone data traffic over the AT&T network that is unmatched in the wireless industry.
The high-quality 850 MHz spectrum generally results in better in-building coverage. While specific benefits of the additional spectrum will vary by location, AT&T 3G customers should see improved quality and coverage throughout dozens of greater Bay Area communities, including San Francisco, Brisbane, Daly City, Colma, South San Francisco, Pacifica, Sausalito, Tiburon, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, San Rafael, San Anselmo, Oakland, Emeryville, Berkeley, Alameda, Piedmont, Hayward, San Leandro, San Mateo, Burlingame, Millbrae, Hillsborough, Palo Alto, San Carlos, Belmont, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Richmond, Albany, El Sobrante, El Cerritos, Pinole, Crockett, Hercules and more.
In addition to providing additional 850 spectrum for 3G, AT&T has increased capacity to hundreds of cell sites across the bay area, expanding the critical connections that deliver traffic from a cell site into the global IP backbone network, helping meet the unprecedented demand for mobile connectivity. With more and more people upgrading to smartphones and integrated devices with full QWERTY keyboards, since 2008 AT&T’s network in the San Francisco area has experienced a 3G data traffic increase of 2000 percent.
This deployment is one part of AT&T’s ongoing initiatives to enhance the speed and performance of its network. Recently, AT&T announced plans to further upgrade its 3G network nationwide with HSPA 7.2 technology to deliver considerably faster mobile broadband speeds. The upgrades are planned to begin in the fourth quarter, with completion expected in 2011. In the San Francisco Bay Area, AT&T plans to roll out HSPA 7.2 in 2010.
Additionally, AT&T is continually optimizing the network and adding cell sites across the country to maximize performance for customers. In the Bay Area in 2009, AT&T has added nearly 40 new cell sites, expanding coverage and creating new footprints of wireless connectivity. AT&T is planning to add approximately 1,900 cell sites nationwide by the end of this year, and we’re adding new backhaul connections across the country to support the increasing volumes of mobile data traffic.
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 open and widely used wireless network platforms in the world. AT&T offers 3G data roaming in more than 100 countries, as well as voice calling in more than 215 countries.
Across the U.S., AT&T’s 3G network is available in more than 350 major metropolitan areas. For more information about AT&T’s 3G coverage in the greater San Francisco Bay Area, or anywhere in the United States, consumers can go here. The online tool shows the quality of coverage based on a street address, intersection, ZIP code or even a landmark.