Gleaning AT&T's 4G Plans for LTE on AWS
2:25 PM -- First things first, we know that AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) will use T-Mobile US Inc. 's Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum for Long Term Evolution (LTE) services in the future -- assuming the merger passes muster -- but we don't know exactly how it will deploy this 4G yet.
If you check the T-Mobile 3G coverage map you can see that the operator is using partners or just plain doesn't have 3G coverage in rural areas. Even though the deal will give it a complete AWS spectrum footprint on the 1,700MHz band in the U.S., it may still have a lot of work to do deploying any network using that frequency if the merger is approved.
As I pointed out in my previous story, T-Mobile doesn't even have infrastructure built out in some rural areas. It is collocating radios with other carriers or using roaming deals to patch coverage holes.
This prompts a few questions:
- How will AT&T deploy LTE across 95 percent of the American population with T-Mobile's existing infrastructure? Try and keep T-Mobile's existing partner deals in place or collocate AWS-compatible radios on its own towers?
- How long will this take? Seems like a massive undertaking, even for AT&T.
- How much will it cost? AT&T has suggested that it expects $8 billion more in incremental infrastructure spending over seven years as part of the deal. What isn't clear yet is how much of this will be on the LTE deployment.
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile