AT&T’s $22 Billion Upgrade
November 7, 2012

AT&T Trying To Keep Up, Spending $22 Billion On Upgrades

Lee Rannals for — Your Universe Online

AT&T is planning to kick things up a notch by making plans to spend as much as $22 billion in the next three years in order to make some upgrades.

The company will be increasing capital spending by 16 percent to upgrade its wireless and wireline networks.

The move is an attempt for the company to keep up with Verizon, which is winning the race in terms of wireless network upgrades.

AT&T said capital spending for 2012 will come in at the low end of its previously announced $20 billion. It said the network expansion plans call for a budget of $8 billion for expanding its wireless network and $6 billion for upgrading its wireline network.

Under the plan, AT&T would upgrade its wireline network with fiber to help reach another 1 million customers and would provide higher-speed Internet service to 75 percent of its wireline customer locations.

The move would see that AT&T expands its U-verse services by a third to cover 43 percent of its network by 2015. U-verse offers customers high-speed Internet and television. U-verse speeds will be upgraded to 75Mbps, according to an AT&T statement.

The upgrade plan also includes an extension of AT&T's high-speed wireless network based on the LTE standard. It would be opening up this service to cover 300 million people by the end of 2014.

“This is a major commitment to invest in 21st Century communications infrastructure for the United States and bring high-speed Internet connectivity – 4G LTE mobile and wireline IP broadband – to millions more Americans,” Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and chief executive officer, said in a press release.

AT&T said it has acquired spectrum through more than 40 spectrum deals this year and it has plans to buy additional spectrum to support its LTE network. It said it plans to have about 118Mhz of spectrum nationwide.

“We have the opportunity to improve AT&T´s revenue growth and cost structure for years to come, and create substantial value for shareowners," Stephenson said.

AT&T said it will be deploying small cell technology, macro cells and additional distributed antenna systems to increase the density of its wireless network.