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AT&T steps up 850MHz spectrum upgrade for enhanced 3G

AT&T continues to roll out its 850Mhz spectrum service, which should improve 3G coverage in metropolitan areas.


AT&T has taken a lot of flack from iPhone users about the trouble its network has handling the iPhone's data-heavy needs. AT&T's network has been blamed repeatedly for poor call quality and dropped calls as well as for a rash of iTunes App Store rejections that included apps like Qik (where live streaming was a no-show) and Slingplayer (which isn't allowed to sling anything over 3G).

Now, AT&T has stepped up its activation of its 850MHz spectrum service, which should improve 3G coverage in metropolitan areas. AT&T expects the project to be completed over the course of a year, and Mobiledia has reported that AT&T has started the much-anticipated upgrade in Atlanta this week. (A visit to AT&T's corporate Web site confirms the Atlanta upgrade and previous improvements over the summer in Fresno, Calif., Las Vegas, San Diego, and Stockton, Calif., but the site does not mention its time line for 850MHz network upgrades in other urban areas.)

Atlanta's AT&T customers will be served by the addition of 540 cell sites that will increase network capacity and coverage, resulting in "improved quality and in-building coverage." These new cell sites will operate alongside the old, 1,900MHz spectrum cell sites.

Keith Holmes, AT&T's vice president and general manager, said "We're enhancing our network every day to help customers do more with and get more from their wireless connections."

TechCrunch has also reported AT&T service improvements in the SoMa district of San Francisco.

The activation of the enhanced network is good news, but is it to little too late or even enough? Have you seen improved AT&T service in your area? Let us know in the comments.