****Disclaimer*** i work for at&t
Sometimes the public amazes me. 3G has been rolling out in the US for about 2 years now. The same length of time as the longest at&t contract. Every customer who has upgraded in that time has had the opportunity to upgrade to a 3g handset but some chose not to. It is the nature of technology to progress and leave old standards by the wayside. How many of you still use 5 inch floppies or 14k modems? The reality of the situation is that there is only so much spectrum depth to be had in each market. The efficient use of that spectrum to promote better services is exactly what the FCC expects from companies. at&t uses 850 and 1900 Mhz in the US. 850 gives better in building penetration and a larger footprint for the tower that 1900. 1900 gives more capacity for users but at the cost of coverage area and building penetration. It's a tradeoff. Does a company keep investing the bulk of it's capital in an older technology, or does it give the customer what they are asking for, in this case 3G speed for data. The 3G handsets that are being sold today are backwards compatible for 2G. All things considered, a 3g handset is a smarter purchase if you are an at&t customer in the US.