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AT&T To Offer Faster iPhone Web Browsing

AT&T Inc. says it plans to offer a version of an iPhone next year that runs on a faster wireless network so users can get speedier results when surfing the Web.

The move would address one of the main drawbacks about the smart phone made by Apple Inc. and distributed exclusively by wireless carrier AT&T in the United States.

"The slow AT&T network is one of the iPhone's few major flaws. People who pay that kind of money for a device expect it to perform quickly and many users have been disappointed. I think it was inevitable that Apple and AT&T would fix this with the next iteration," says CBS News technology analyst Larry Magid. "What I didn't expect was that the AT&T CEO would leak the news instead of waiting for an official product announcement from Apple."

AT&T Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson spilled the news during his appearance at an event late Wednesday at the Churchill Club in Santa Clara.

A spokeswoman for Apple declined to comment Thursday.

Stephenson said he didn't know how much more the new version will cost than the existing model, which sells for $399.

"This is good news for anyone who buys the next iPhone but pre-announcing it could stifle iPhone sales during the holiday. Knowing that they will be coming out with a model that fixes a major flaw could certainly give someone pause before buying the current generation iPhone," says Magid.

Many industry observers had expected Apple to make the iPhone work on faster 3G networks at some point but couldn't pinpoint when. The current model - Apple's first foray in the cell phone market - runs on 2.5G networks, or in AT&T's case, its relatively slow EDGE network.

The difference in performance is similar to a dial-up Internet connection versus a high-speed broadband connection.