Light Reading

Where AT&T Might Go With LTE

Dan Jones
LR Mobile News Analysis
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor

AT&T Inc.'s plans to extend its LTE network to cover almost the entire U.S. population will likely lead to it offering 4G as it primary broadband service for some rural areas of the country. John Donovan, senior EVP of AT&T technology and network operations, said last week at the Citi Global Conference in Las Vegas that 4G could serve as an "excellent" replacement for DSL in some cases. He noted that AT&T's wired users can use up to 20 times the bandwidth in the home that they do on the mobile network. So Ma Bell will need to find the right price plans, data speeds and consumption levels for a 4G home service alternative. "We anticipate that LTE will be our broadband coverage solution for a portion of the country, we just haven't yet gotten to the point where we've got enough experience under our belt to know what the portion will be," says Donovan. "There's no question that as we extend ourselves from 75 percent of the footprint to 99 percent of the footprint in region that we're going to be using LTE for some of that broadband." AT&T's CEO Randall Stephenson, however, has already dropped some heavy hints about where AT&T envisages using the 4G alternative at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference back in September. "When you begin to think about rural America and tier two towns ... LTE can become a fixed line replacement," Stephenson said. AT&T's recently approved 2.3GHz Wireless Communication Services (WCS) spectrum could be a transport for a rural broadband service in the future. So as AT&T tries to rid itself of its copper past it could move into 4G country. — Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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User Rank: Light Beer
1/14/2013 | 9:29:04 PM
re: Where AT&T Might Go With LTE
-áI can't see them dropping the cap but they'll need to be smart about how much they charge for this service.
User Rank: Light Beer
1/14/2013 | 6:46:25 PM
re: Where AT&T Might Go With LTE
A wireless broadband solution could have some appeal to rural customers. But in comparison with a wireline approach, I don't think they'll like the data caps. It will be interesting to see if AT&T makes any modifications to its data caps when it begins rolling out 4G to the unserved rural areas.
User Rank: Light Beer
1/14/2013 | 4:42:33 PM
re: Where AT&T Might Go With LTE
FYI, AT&T said it would start commercial transmissions on WCS sometime in 2014.
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