Word is coming out from the AT&T network engineers that the company is gearing up for an increased use of their EDGE data network, caused by the launch of Apple’s iPhone. In many areas, AT&T has been slow to roll out bandwidth lines to EDGE-enabled towers in remote areas. Cingular years ago began a campaign to upgrade all their towers from GPRS to EDGE as part of their Network Integration initative. However, while doing so, they did not supply additional bandwidth in many areas, as T1 lines far outpaced the cost of the EDGE add-on at each cell site.
Now, with iPhone preparing to deliver premium data experience to the typical consumer, a greater demand will be placed on Cingular’s EDGE network. Towers that have been upgraded to the newer UMTS standard (which the first-generation iPhone will not use) have already had additional T1 lines installed to supply them with additional bandwidth.
In related news, Apple has begun deploying cellular repeaters in their stores. This will ensure that Apple Store coverage will be pristine for testing the iPhone with, even if the Apple Store itself is located in a coverage gap, or if the shopping center has poor in-building penetration.