SAN FRANCISCO—U.S. telecom operators AT&T Inc. said Wednesday (Nov. 7) it plans to invest $7 billion over the next three years to expand and enhance its wireless and wireline IP broadband networks.
AT&T (Dallas) said it would invest in the networks to support growing customer demand for high-speed Internet access and new mobile, app and cloud services. The $14 billion—including $8 billion for wireless initiatives and $6 billion for wireline initiatives—will be invested over three years, AT&T said. The company said its total capital spending would be about $22 billion for each of the next three years.
"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,” said Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO, in a statement.
The investment will support AT&T's plan to expand its 4G LTE network to cover 300 million people in the U.S. by the end of 2014. The company plans to deploy 4G LTE to about 250 million Americans by the end of 2013.
As part of the investment plan—dubbed Project Velocity IP (VIP)—AT&T said it would deploy small cell technology, macro cells and additional distributed antenna systems to increase the density of its wireless network.
The company said it has made more than 40 deals this to acquire additional wireless spectrum—some pending regulatory review--and plans to buy buy more. Much of the additional spectrum came when AT&T gained FCC approval to use WCS spectrum for mobile broadband, the company said. Between what the company already owns and transactions pending regulatory approval, AT&T expects to have about 118 Mhz of spectrum nationwide.
AT&T said it also plans to expand and enhance its wireline broadband network to 57 million customer locations—including consumers and small businesses by the end of 2015. This equates to about 75 percent of all customer locations in its 22-state wireline service area.
The telecom giant also announced several new initiatives as part of Project VIP, including a nationwide IP-based home security and automation service, a mobile alternative to wireline voice service and an initiative supporting connected car technology.
AT&T said it would also deploy fiber to reach 1 million additional business customer locations, covering 50 percent of multi-tenant office buildings in AT&T's 22-state wireline service area by the end of 2015.