AT&T Prepares Network for Battle

With a new version of the iPhone in the works, the clock is ticking for AT&T Inc. (T) to get its much-criticized network ready for the looming battle. The carrier has taken a beating from consumers who have complained about poor coverage in major cities including New York and San Francisco. Now, AT&T is racing to reduce its dropped calls and speed up Web-surfing before Apple Inc. (AAPL) releases a new version of the iPhone that could run on Verizon Wireless’s network.

In mid-December, AT&T executives set up a 100-day plan to dramatically improve the company’s network in densely-populated cities, according to people familiar with the plan. Since then, AT&T has added new network spectrum to better handle traffic, repositioned antennas to improve reception in office towers and wired more neighborhood cell towers with faster connections.

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