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Top U.S. carriers plot faster gadgets, services

  By TechUniverse
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The next generation of high-speed Internet services, tablets, smartphones and other mobile gadgets could arrive faster than you would expect. The two biggest U.S. phone companies, AT&T Inc and Verizon Wireless, are stepping up plans to speed up their networks and deliver advanced devices to consumers as early as this holiday season with partners such as Motorola Inc, Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics. AT&T said it is planning to triple speeds for home Internet services, and double speeds on its wireless network, while Verizon Wireless said it will be ready with a slew of high-speed phones earlier than it had previously suggested. "We still have a tremendous amount of opportunity in wireless," John Stankey, AT&T's operations chief said, dismissing suggestions from some telecoms analysts that the industry's exponential growth days were over. "We're at the front of that 10-year (growth) cycle in the mobile space today," he said at the Reuters Global Technology Summit in New York on Friday. While wireless carriers have to depend on data services for growth, because most people already have cellphones, Stankey sees opportunities in business applications. As industries add wireless connections to their equipment, such as medical devices and security systems, each business vertical could eventually generate a $1 billion a year in revenue, he said. Stankey announced at the summit that AT&T would be able to double the speeds of its wireless data services in markets covering more than 250 million people in the fourth quarter, using technology known as HSPA Plus. The upgrade would require an incremental investment of a few million dollars, a "rounding error" compared AT&T's total capital spend of up to $19 billion for 2010, he said. AT&T also plans a residential broadband trial in June to allow Web surfing at speeds of 80 megabits per second (mbps), well above its current limit of 24 mbps and surpassing the 50 mbps service offered by Verizon Communications Inc. Read More

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