AT&T Adding 3G to Wilmington, NC

AT&T said Monday that it plans to launch a speedier and expanded wireless service in New Hanover County.

Its 3G network will allow for such services as sending and receiving videos by cell phone

It comes more than two years after rival Verizon Wireless began its 3G service covering New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties in November 2006. In October 2003, Verizon Wireless became the second 3G network operator in the U.S. The first commercial 3G network in this country was by Monet Mobile Networks, which later shut down.

With 3G networks, companies like Verizon Wireless and AT&T can offer a wider range of more advanced services and at the same time gain network capacity. Mobile services include wide-area wireless voice telephony, video calls and broadband wireless data.

AT&T said it plans to add 75 new cell sites in North Carolina, including in New Hanover County. Other Eastern North Carolina areas to get new sites include Onslow, Carteret, Craven, Hyde and Pitt counties, AT&T said in a news release.

Fayetteville and Jacksonville already have 3G service from both AT&T and Verizon Wireless.

AT&T’s 3G service provides downlink speeds between 700 kilobits and 1.7 megabits per second. Uplink speeds will range from 500 kilobits to 1.2 metabits per second, AT&T said in a news release.

AT&T said it invested more than $200 million in its North Carolina wireless network from 2006 to 2008. As part of its 2009 investment, AT&T plans to launch 3G service in Wilmington, Asheville, Hickory, Greenville and Havelock and expand its 3G footprint in Charlotte, Concord, Raleigh and Greensboro, totaling more than 220 cell site activations.