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Local Tech Wire

RALEIGH, N.C. – (NYSE: T) plans to upgrade more than 450 of its cell sites to support faster-speed 3G multimedia services across North Carolina.

The telecommunications giant also plans to add more than 85 new cell sites in North Carolina.

AT&T’s wireless network has been under growing pressure as demand grows for broadband services through such devices as Apple’s iPhone. The company plans to spend some $2 billion across its nationwide network to improve 3G service.

In 2009, AT&T added more than 70 cell sites and upgraded another 175 to 3G level capacity.

AT&T’s wireless data traffic has increased more than 5,000 percent over the past three years, the company said. Some 40 percent of its customers now utilize smart phones.

"We’re seeing advanced smart phones driving up to 10 times the amount of usage of other devices on average," said Alison Hall, AT&T’s vice president and general manager for the Carolinas.