The operator made the claim in its public interest statement on the merger, which it filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Thursday. You can read a redacted version of the statement here. [Ed note: Frankly, it's very much the same as the initial public statement put out by AT&T on the merger in March.] Why this matters The key change in the statement is that AT&T will now cover 97 percent -- rather than 95 percent -- of the American population with Long Term Evolution (LTE) mobile broadband service. AT&T says this means that it will blanket an additional 55 million people nationwide with 4G, rather than the 46.5 million extra pops it was originally planning to add to its coverage roster in March.
AT&T plans to use T-Mobile's Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum in the 1700MHz/2100MHz frequencies for the additional 4G deployment. AT&T has its own AWS licenses and is also moving ahead to deploy LTE on its 700MHz spectrum holidings.
At the moment, AT&T's major rival -- Verizon Wireless -- is way ahead on deploying LTE in the U.S. with plans to have around 175 markets operational by year's end. AT&T has yet to launch an LTE city, and is not expected to before the middle of the year at the earliest. (See Verizon Speeds Up LTE Expansion and AT&T Looks From iPhone to LTE to Increase Subs.) For more Read more around AT&T's 4G moves with T-Mobile:
- Big AT&T & T-Mobile 4G Buildout Ahead?
- AT&T Could Drop 40% of T-Mobile
- Is 4G Worth Losing T-Mobile?
- AT&T to Acquire T-Mobile for $39B
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile