AT&T announced today that they have finished the upgrade that allows the 3G network to operate at 7.2 speeds. There will be a backhaul that will take until 2011 and has already begun in Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, and Miami. After the upgrade is finalized users of 7.2 capable phones should notice a significant speed increase, and remember only the iPhone 3GS supports 7.2.

     “Software Upgrade Sets Stage for Faster 3G Speeds, Enhanced Mobile Data Performance to Come with Capacity Upgrades Planned for 2010-2011.

     AT&T* today announced completion of a software upgrade at 3G cell sites nationwide that prepares the nation’s fastest 3G network for even faster speeds.

     The deployment of High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA) 7.2 technology across 3G cell sites is the first of multiple initiatives in AT&T’s network enhancement strategy designed to provide customers with the best possible mobile broadband experience, both today and well into the future. After full testing of HSPA 7.2 software, AT&T decided to expedite deployment of this initial upgrade, which will result in a better overall customer experience by generally improving consistency in accessing data sessions. The software upgrade also prepares the network for faster speeds and increases network efficiency.

     Faster 3G speeds will come as AT&T combines the new technology with enhanced cell site backhaul connections over the course of 2010 and 2011. AT&T is in the midst of this second initiative to dramatically increase the number of high-speed backhaul connections to cell sites, primarily with fiber-optic connections, adding capacity from cell sites to the AT&T backbone network. The combination of HSPA 7.2 technology and enhanced backhaul will support theoretical peak maximum speeds of 7.2 megabits per second, though as with any mobile broadband network, actual speeds will be lower than the theoretical maximum and will vary due to a number of factors.”