AT&T Claims North American LTE Crown

AT&T says that it now covers 355 million people in North America with 4G LTE, more than any other carrier.

CEO Randall Stephenson said on the company's fourth quarter earnings call Tuesday that the company expects to cover 385 million people in North America with 4G LTE by the end of the year. With the population of the United States at just under 319 million people, AT&T is adding the LTE numbers by expanding into Mexico. (See AT&T to Buy Iusacell, Plans Lower Capex For 2015, AT&T Makes More Moves in Mexico and AT&T Commits $3B More to Mexico.)

John Stephens, the operator's CFO, said that AT&T is "well on our way to our next benchmark of reaching 75 million POPs by the end of the year and it brings our... coverage to 355 million people, which is more than any other carrier."

In contrast, Verizon says that it covers 98% of the US population with LTE.

For more on LTE, visit the 4G LTE content section here on Light Reading.

AT&T has so far spent more than $7 billion on expanding into Mexico with the acquisitions of lusacell and Nextel Mexico, plus further investment. It expects to cover more than 400 million people in North America when the deployment south of the border is completed. (See AT&T's Mexican Capex Dance.)

The carrier is expecting to launch 4G in the capital, Mexico City, in April.

While it is still early days in the US for AT&T and DirecTV as well, the CEO says that Mexico will feel the video wave too. "We are off and running with the acquisition in Mexico," Stephenson says.

AT&T reported revenues of $42.1 billion for the quarter, up 22% compared to last year, and net income of $4.08 billion. Earnings per share were $0.633.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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