AT&T announced plans last week to invest $120 million in a new data center in Akron, Ohio, which will expand its 3G network infrastructure and provide a foundation for the launch of 4G services.

The company said the new data center is being constructed inside a former Ohio Bell data center in Akron. The facility will be AT&T’s ninth center dedicated to text and data services for customers in Ohio and along the eastern seaboard.

The announcement should come as some relief to iPhone customers who have experienced frustration with slow services and dropped calls.

AT&T said smartphone services for the region are currently being handled by a data center in Schaumberg, Ill.

AT&T invested about $20 million to refurbish the Bell building and upgrade the cooling system. A report in the Akron Beacon Journal said AT&T also spent about $100 million on servers and other equipment.

The data center is expected to be functional and ready for testing in August.

AT&T has been under pressure to improve its services as the increased use of smartphones, such as the iPhone and Blackberry, as well as new devices like the iPad and Kindle, strain its capabilities.

The company is conducting trials of 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) services, with full scale rollouts expected in 2011.

 

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