Using the Consumer Electronics Show as its backdrop, AT&T announced the deployment of 4G speeds using both HSPA+ and LTE technologies to deliver faster services.
Company officials announced plans Wednesday to accelerate its LTE network build, to be largely complete by late 2013. The carrier also plans to begin its launch of LTE service later this year.
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson attributed the decision to speed up deployment plans to “recent law tax incentives and other policy developments” that have freed up capital to move forward. However, the carrier did not reveal how much it will spend on the new technology.
“The key to delivering a true 4G experience is to have the combination of network, devices and applications, which together will give our customers the best and most advanced mobile broadband experience — today and tomorrow,” said Stephenson. “Recent tax law incentives, along with other policy developments, have allowed us to accelerate the capital investment — beginning in 2011 — to largely complete our LTE network build by the end of 2013. This will not only benefit our customers, but will, we hope, benefit the economy as a whole.”
AT&T is the island’s largest wireless carrier with nearly 1 million customers. However, it is the second carrier to adopt 4G wireless technologies to offer faster services. In October 2010, competitor T-Mobile unveiled its HSPA+ network, for which it invested $50 million to deploy on the island.
Upon announcing its plans on Wednesday, AT&T refrained from providing details about how much it will invest locally to upgrade its network.
On Wednesday, AT&T officials said the carrier has completed its deployment of HSPA+ to virtually 100 percent of its mobile broadband network, which enables 4G speeds when combined with Ethernet or fiber backhaul.
During the announcement, Ralph de la Vega, president of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets, said AT&T plans to offer 20 4G devices in 2011, including a collection of smartphones, tablets, modems and mobile hotspots. Among the handsets to be launched are the Motorla Atrix 4G, the HTC Inspire 4G, and the Samsung Infuse 4G.
Collaborating with app developers
On Wednesday, AT&T also announced it will be collaborating with other companies to invest $70 million to build three innovation centers worldwide — in Dallas, in Silicon Valley and near Tel Aviv — to work hand-in-hand with the app developer community to focus on speeding innovation to customers.
While the center in Dallas is slated to open during the first quarter of this year, the other two will open later.
“AT&T is moving quickly to open its network to developers in unprecedented ways,” said Sam Ramji, vice president of strategy for mobile application developer, Apigee. “Our work with AT&T will give developers easy access to network capabilities and billing tools. AT&T’s commitment to working with the developer community makes the company a leading platform for innovators.”
Business reporter with 27 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other areas of the economy.