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AT&T nearing 3G for area

AT&T cell phone users could see an improvement in their ability to transfer data by the new year.

Mike Barger, with AT&T Corporate Communications, said the groundwork has already begun in the area to make the switch to a 3G network.

“Some upgrading has already begun in the area,” Barger said. “We hope to be able to have the upgrades complete before the end of the year.”

Currently AT&T customers only have access to a 2G network. The upgrade to 3G networking has taken some time to get ready for the switch.

“There has been a bit of groundwork that had to be laid to get the 3G network going,” Barger said. “The plan is to have it turned up and optimized by the end of the year.”

Barger said the switch from 2G to 3G will increase capabilities for customers who use data transferring applications on their current mobile phone system.

“A lot of newer devices have been available with 3G capabilities,” Barger said. “Those devices will now be fully optimized when the 3G network is operational. This switch will mean faster downloads from the web and a better overall experience for web users. Users who do a lot of email and data exchanges will see a difference.”

Although many features on mobile devices will be enhanced with the 3G upgrade, Barger said those who don’t typically use those features probably won’t notice the change.

“This upgrade really doesn’t have a discernable impact on voice quality,” Barger said. “There is very little difference in the 2G and 3G networks for those who simply use their mobile devices for typical phone conversations.

“This change is being made to address data issues and to increase the speed of downloads of videos, music and overall web experiences of our customers.”

Barger also said with current talk by other providers concerning a 4G network won’t have an impact on AT&T customers.

“A lot of other providers are already talking about a 4G network,” Barger said. “We are in a unique position that we can grow and speed up our 3G network without having to go to 4G.”

Barger said with capabilities on the AT&T network, HSPA and HSPA-plus speeds are considered even faster than 4G.

“Our HSPA capabilities allow for a 7.2 megabytes per second download,” Barger said. “With HSPA-plus that increases to 14.4 megabytes per second for downloads. That is basically double the download speed that other providers are expecting with a 4G network. So, when you look at speeds with 4G it isn’t necessarily better than 3G. It is on our map, but we’re only going to roll it out as it makes sense. Right now there aren’t a lot of devices available that can take advantage of a 4G network.”

Questions about devices capable of service with the 3G upgrades can be made by contact staff at the local AT&T retail location on Douglas Avenue.