In a press release that carefully avoids any mention of the iPhone, Apple’s U.S. mobile carrier announced Wednesday that roughly two-thirds of its nationwide cell phone network be 3G ready within the next month.
By the end of June, according to AT&T, 275 U.S. markets will offer download speeds of 1.4 Mbps and upload speeds of 500 to 800 kbps (using HSDPA for downlink and HSUPA for up).
AT&T EDGE network, by comparison, is rated at up to 236.8 kbps, but actual throughput is in the 50 to 90 kbps range (see here).
AT&T didn’t specify what cities or states those 275 markets represent. But it did promise that the rest of its 350 markets will 3G-ready by the end of the year, by which point the network overhaul will have cost the company a grand total of $20 billion.
Earlier this month, AT&T’s wireless chief promised to start delivering 7.2 Mbps in selected markets by early next year and maximum throughput of 20 Mbps — Wi-Fi speeds — before the end of 2009. (see here)
“Equally as important as the network,” according Wednesday’s press release, “is the device through which a customer experiences it. AT&T’s handset portfolio in company-owned stores is more than 75 percent 3G-capable — and will be even more enticing with the addition of more 3G-enabled smartphones in the summer and fall of 2008.”
Data from a recent Rubicon Consulting survey found that 47% of iPhone buyers had switched from another carrier and that iPhone users were spending an average of $19 more per month than customers using other AT&T mobile phones.
Chris Foresman at Ars Technica’s Infinite Loop did some quick “back-of-the-napkin” calculations and figured that AT&T was pulling in about $167 million per month, or just over $2 billion dollars a year, from iPhone users alone.