AT&T: Customers 'Love Our 4G Network'
AT&T made $6.1 billion in wireless data revenues for the first three months of 2012. That's up nearly 20 percent, or $1 billion, from the same period last year. (See Data Drives AT&T's $3.6B Q1 Profit.)
"Mobile data is a $24 billion annualized revenue stream for us," de la Vega said on AT&T's earnings call this morning.
With more than 41 million smartphones now on AT&T's network, the wireless boss doesn't expect this trend to change. "I think we’re on the verge of a tipping point with the mobile Internet," de la Vega opined.
"From here on out you can except to see more and more people access the Internet on their mobile devices, which speaks to our strategy of building a great LTE network on top of our HSPA network and rolling out terrific new LTE devices," he said.
In fact, de la Vega, enthusiastically talked up AT&T's so-called "blended 4G" approach, with the carrier building out its Long Term Evolution (LTE) network along with a 21Mbit/s high-speed packet access-plus (HSPA+) network. AT&T markets both of these services as "4G."
"We now cover 260 million pops with our 4G network," said de la Vega. He claims it is the largest 4G footprint in the U.S.
That footprint, however, is mainly still the HSPA network, which had previously been called a 3G network. AT&T has 35 LTE markets up and expects that to double by the end of the year. Ma Bell expects to cover 150 million people in the U.S. with LTE by the end of the year. (See Mapping LTE: AT&T & Verizon's 4G Footprints.)
Nonetheless, de la Vega contends that customers appreciate the ease and speed of AT&T's blended approach with LTE and HSPA+. "Customers know [that it's blended], and they love our 4G network," he claimed.
If you need a refresher on what we at Light Reading Mobile mean when we say "4G," click here.
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile