AT&T Wireless Internet Service
In 2011, AT&T announced a deal to acquire T-Mobile USA. If this deal is approved by the FCC, within a year, AT&T will be the largest wireless provider in the United States.
Covering over 230 million Americans, AT&T's 3g network is available in most major U.S. cities. From 2005 to 2008 AT&T invested over $20 billion in their 3G network and several independent studies show that on average AT&T is faster than T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint.
AT&T covers most metropolitan areas, and although Verizon and Sprint do have a larger 3G footprint, the coverage includes a lot of rural areas with fewer users. With 3G and EDGE coverage combined, AT&T covers a greater overall area than its competitors.
Major benefits of choosing AT&T wireless Internet include:
- Fastest 3G Speeds - Up to 1.7 Mbps downstream with more upgrades in the works.
- Fast Uploads - Very good tests of upstream speeds -- up to 1.2 Mbps.
- Multi-Tasking - Search, send, download, etc. -- all while you are on a call.
- Laptops / Netbooks - Wireless network cards for access on a laptop or netbook.
- Roll Over Minutes - Unused minutes accumulate from month to month.
High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) is the foundation of AT&T's wireless Internet offerings, and this technology offers a great deal of room for growth. In 2009 HSPA 7.2 was rolled out into select markets and this 3G upgrade could allow download speeds of up to 7.2 Mbps. This is a theoretical limit of course and as of 2011 has not been reached reliably across markets. On average AT&T remains the fastest 3G network available in the U.S.
For those of you in the areas where AT&T's 3G network is unavailable, you can still get wireless Internet service through their EDGE network. The connection speeds will be much slower, ranging from 75 Kbps to 135 Kbps in most cases.
AT&T expects to have their new AT&T 4G network ready in select markets no earlier than 2011, although it will probably be even longer before it's available nationwide. LTE is a very fast new wireless Internet technology with speeds that should blow away all of the current 3G networks. For now, AT&T remains a few steps ahead of it's competition when it comes to providing high speed 3G wireless Internet, but it looks like they are going to be just a little bit behind Verizon in rolling out a new 4G LTE network.
We compare AT&T's wireless Internet service with other High Speed Internet providers in the United States, including both Verizon 3G and Sprint's 3G/4G plan.