AT&T plans San Francisco Bay Area network upgrades for 2010

att_sfHey SF Bay Area iPhonestas…good news! Your beloved carrier, the one and only AT&T, has big plans for major 3G network upgrades across the SF Bay Area come 2010.

Apparently, the lovely folks over at AT&T have pumped some $65 million “from 2008 through the 3rd quarter of 2009 to complete a substantial upgrade of its local 3G wireless network in the greater San Francisco Bay Area with the launch of additional wireless spectrum in the 850 MHz band.” Based on the endless complaints I hear from my iPhone carrying friends ’round these parts, this has got to be music to their ears.

Independent of just pleasing iPhone owners, this is obviously also good news for all AT&T customers throughout the Bay Area. As more and more customers make the switch to data-happy smartphones, carriers must improve the robustness of their 3G networks to meet the growing data demands. Luckily, it sounds like this improvement should help, big time.

As a result of this upgrade, local customers are expected to experience better 3G wireless connectivity, performance and enhanced in-building wireless coverage. The enhancement also increases network capacity, and is intended to support the ever-growing demand for 3G mobile broadband service. In the greater Bay Area, AT&T upgraded close to 850 cell sites as part of this enhancement, the majority coming in the 3rd quarter of 2009.

More specifically, AT&T is launching additional wireless spectrum in the 850 MHz band. According to press release, the 850 MHz spectrum “generally results in better in-building coverage.”

AT&T 3G customers should see improved quality and coverage throughout dozens of greater Bay Area communities, including San Francisco, Brisbane, Daly City, Colma, South San Francisco, Pacifica, Sausalito, Tiburon, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, San Rafael, San Anselmo, Oakland, Emeryville, Berkeley, Alameda, Piedmont, Hayward, San Leandro, San Mateo, Burlingame, Millbrae, Hillsborough, Palo Alto, San Carlos, Belmont, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Richmond, Albany, El Sobrante, El Cerritos, Pinole, Crockett, Hercules and more.

AT&T has also increased capacity to “hundreds of cell sites across the bay area” in order to better meet the growing massive data demands of its Silicon Valley customers and plans to flip the switch on its higher speed HSPA 7.2 3G network sometime in 2010. But like lipservice from any of the major carriers, we’ll all need to see “it” to believe “it” before we give AT&T credit for its supposed improvements.