AT&T to expand LTE reach to 300 million

AT&T to expand LTE reach to 300 million

US carrier AT&T is reportedly planning to extend its 4G LTE network to reach 300 million people, or 95% of the US population by the end of 2013.

The plans are part of the carrier’s Project VIP, a $14 billion network investment announced in November, according to the Financial Times.

The project consists of several individual wireline and wireless initiatives designed to expand AT&Ts highest potential growth platforms.

AT&T’s LTE network so far covers approximately 170 million people, meaning a significant roll-out will be necessary this year to reach the 300 million target.

This expansion will be made possible by recent spectrum purchases, including the acquisition of NextWave Wireless, announced in August. This spectrum will also be used to improve coverage in densely populated areas with high data demand.

AT&T plans to roll out a host of new services, including home automation, connected car and NFC payment solutions over the LTE network.

The company announced on January 7 that its Digital Life home automation service would be commercially launched in eight markets in March, with up to 50 additional market roll-outs planned during 2013.

Digital Life includes wirelessly enabled devices including cameras, a variety of sensors, door locks, thermostats, moisture detection and appliance and lighting controls.

AT&T Mobile CEO, Ralph de la Vega, told the Financial Times that most successfully mobile operators in the future will layer these types of services onto their next-generation infrastructure. And that he expected Digital Life to be a multibillion dollar business within a few years.

He also revealed that AT&T plans to licence its expertise in these areas to other carriers, including those outside the US, in what could be a new wholesale strategy for the company.

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