AT&T Investing in LTE Video Despite Capex 'Freeze'?

Even if AT&T has been slowing down capital spending in other areas recently, it is focused on an LTE network upgrade designed to serve video better to its wireless users, according to a new analyst report.

MKM Partners put out a research note Tuesday suggesting that AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) has a temporary "freeze" on many wireline and wireless capex projects but is still looking to future 4G applications. "AT&T is increasingly emphasizing Project Stream, which is a wireless video architecture leveraging LTE Broadcast," MKM analyst Michael Genovese writes.

AT&T's CEO Randall Stephenson briefly mentioned Project Stream at a Morgan Stanley conference this spring. Here is an excerpt from his appearance. (You can read the full transcript here.)

    The data explosion is now turning into a video explosion, and video is what is now driving the traffic on the network, and it's impressive, the level of video that's reversing these networks. We think it's a wonderful growth opportunity for the industry. In fact, we have a project Xtreme [sic] which is all about one thing, and that is equipping the mobile network to accommodate video, and it's re-architecting a number of elements of the network to accommodate video, and obviously LTE broadcast technology is going to be a vital part of that.

AT&T isn't going into any more detail on what Project Stream is at the moment. A spokesman for the operator told Light Reading that it has "no other details to share" now.

However, AT&T isn't the only US operator working toward upgraded video broadcast over LTE. Verizon Wireless has its own "multicast" upgrade effort ongoing. (See Verizon's Coming Attractions: 4G Video and Verizon's 4G Video Freeze Frame.)

You can read up on LTE broadcast technology here.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

COMMENTS Add Comment
SteveSchmiedt 6/4/2014 | 1:38:36 PM
Re: For you and me? For LTE Broadcast to work I believe the data caps would need to be excluded if it is a linear video channel (Live Network or Cable).  In this case a broadcast would be a multicast service where a user would join a stream which is already active on the tower or netwok.  Any on demand video (Youtube, Netflix) would still fall under data caps.  
jabailo 6/4/2014 | 10:58:00 AM
Re: For you and me? I can't figure out why with Wimax I am getting unlimited data (Clear/Clearwire) much like a wired (cable, optical) provider, and yet no one is doing the same with LTE, which is essentially the same technology.
DanJones 6/4/2014 | 12:16:26 AM
Re: For you and me? Most LTE services have serious data caps too though....
jabailo 6/3/2014 | 6:36:04 PM
For you and me? I've been looking at rural properties here in Washington State and it surprises me how many areas are un-wired for broadband or else lack significant choice.  It's getting better, but the previous argument for wireless technologies like wimax was that a single antenna could cover many square miles.   Now, Washington is of course, more mountainous, but even along roads and highways, it seems like it would be simpler to string LTE antenna along opticle fiber conduits rather than run last mile wires into every acre.   There is satellite, but it still seems unusable as an always on, and streaming service, due to the data caps.

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