Tech firm: Upgrades vastly improve smartphones’ access to Internet

AT&T’s two-year, $475 million investment to upgrade mobile Internet service across Colorado means Grand Junction residents can now enjoy some of the fastest Internet speeds in the country via their handheld smartphones, company spokeswoman Suzanne Trantow said.

“This could make hand-carried smartphones faster than the broadband connections people have at home,” Trantow said.

Known as 4G LTE, the new technology is capable of delivering mobile Internet speeds up to 10 times faster than 3G technology, she said.

The network became fully operational in July after several months of testing during which mobile-phone users in some areas experienced faster speeds, Trantow said.

“We gradually turned on a few towers, testing to make sure everything was working properly,” she said. “We make upgrades to the network year-round and we made thousands of updates in Colorado. We always want to make sure it’s running at optimum speed.”

The latest generation of wireless technology offers lower latency, or the processing time it takes to move data through a network. It can significantly decrease the time it takes to start downloading a web page after a request for the page is sent, Trantow said.

Wireless spectrum is a limited resource and LTE uses spectrum more efficiently than other technologies, creating more space to carry data traffic and services, she said.

LTE helps to improve services like mobile gaming, two-way video calling and telemedicine.

“As we see demand for mobile Internet skyrocket, our ongoing investments in Colorado are designed to give businesses, residents and visitors increased coverage and reliability,” AT&T-Colorado President Bill Soards said.

The new technology could have a positive impact on local retailers beyond improved mobile phone service for business owners, Trantow said.

Visitors to the area use mobile phones to check weather and make hotel reservations, especially when traveling during the summer months. The upgraded network allows them to navigate the area more efficiently.

Likewise, tourists in and around Grand Junction with faster connections could decide to extend their stay in the Grand Valley since the upgraded network allows them to better stay on top of business remotely, she said.

“People all around Grand Junction will benefit, from mountain bikers in Fruita to wine tourists in Palisade,” she said.


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