AT&T Not Ready to Market 'Enhanced Backhaul'
Speaking to Phone Scoop today at an event in New York City, AT&T spokesperson Seth Bloom confirmed that the network operator is not yet ready to market where it offers "enhanced backhaul" services. As AT&T moves forward in building out its HSPA+ network, one of the sticking points of getting the best possible speeds is that the cell site users connect to needs to have enhanced backhaul. The cell sites with enhanced backhaul have higher throughput than non-enhanced cell sites. Bloom explained that if customers drill down far enough into the coverage maps of specific metro areas, they may be able to see a cell site-by-cell site designation of areas that have enhanced backhaul, but the vast majority of cell sites have yet to be upgraded with the faster equipment. Bloom said that AT&T is going to be aggressively building its enhanced backhaul systems out this year, and expects to have the majority of its HSPA+ sites "enhanced" by the close of 2011. For now, however, AT&T is not planning to market or clearly define where its fastest "4G" network is available. Bottom line, AT&T hasn't defined the criteria (a.k.a., enhanced backhaul cell density) by which it will refer to a given market as completely covered with enhanced backhaul. It will be up to customers to manually seek out the best coverage. By way of comparison, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless go out of their way to announce where their best service is available.
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