3G service arrives for AT&T customers

Posted: Friday, January 01, 2010

Surfing the Internet while on the go got faster for some people in Juneau this week as AT&T expanded its 3G network.

Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Michael Penn / Juneau Empire

3G, standing for "third generation," provides faster connections for people who check e-mail and browse Internet sites on cell phones and other hand-held devices. Juneau's AT&T customers, especially iPhone users, have been waiting for the upgrade for some time.

3G networks first became available in the U.S. in 2003 and were widely available in Europe by 2005.

Blackberry user Jessica Eyler-Spady noticed Wednesday night her display said 3G instead of "Edge," which is an older network connection.

"The only other thing I noticed was the connection seems a little quicker," Eyler-Spady said of the change. "I wouldn't say it's a dramatic change."

AT&T confirmed Thursday it started expanding the network in Juneau and would make a formal announcement of the launch within the next few weeks, spokesman Steven Smith said.

The company does not disclose when or where it expands service for competitive reasons, he said.

AT&T says it reaches 75 percent of the U.S. population with its 3G network. Its online coverage display was not updated Thursday, indicating it is only available in Anchorage and Wasilla in Alaska.

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