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AT&T's "Fine Edge" to boost network speeds ahead of iPhone

Wireless provider and exclusive U.S. iPhone carrier AT&T Wireless has launched an internal operation aimed at boosting the data speeds of its 2.5G EDGE network ahead of this month's iPhone launch, according to a published report.

Electronic gadget site Gizmodo reports on the matter, dubbed operation "Fine Edge," which it claims has been ongoing for about six weeks. The optimization is due to wrap up around mid-month, just two weeks before the Apple handset hits the open market.

The move is reportedly part of a broader effort on AT&T's part to assure the optimal iPhone experience come June 29th, the first day the inaugural Apple mobile phone is due to turn up at Apple and AT&T retail stores.

According to the report, existing limitations and bottlenecks on the AT&T EDGE network stem not from protocols but rather the network's data backend and the way the towers are configured to allocate bandwidth to data and calls.

As such, AT&T engineers are said to be "dropping in more T-1 lines" into the poorest performing towers, hoping to get the network's paltry 40kbps performance to a new minimum of 80kpbs. (EDGE's real world maximum performance is reportedly about 200kbps.)

Prior to "Fine EDGE" and the iPhone, most of AT&T's efforts were positioned towards building out its 3G network, the report adds.

Apple is expected to launch a version of its iPhone for use on the speedier 3G networks sometime in 2008.