AT&T looks to mid-year timeframe for scaling its midband deployments
AT&T is seeking to take a similar strategy with deploying midband that it did with its FirstNet build: Touching a tower once to turn up multiple spectrum bands.
CEO John Stankey told analysts on the company’s quarterly call today that AT&T expects to be able to deploy both its 40 megahertz of A-block C-Band spectrum alongside another newly acquired block of 40 megahertz from Auction 110 at 3.45-3.55 GHz. Radios for that new spectrum should become available in late spring or early summer, Stankey said, at which point AT&T will ramp up work so that it can turn up all 80 megahertz of midband spectrum in one go at its towers.
The carrier expects to have 200 million potential customers covered by its midband spectrum holdings by the end of next year.
Stankey said that based on past changeovers in air interfaces, the costs run about $8 billion in capex over several years and he expects to see a similar level of costs over the next three years for AT&T as it expands into the midband.
AT&T also expects to pass 30 million fiber locations by the end of 2025. Stankey said that at this point, the company believes it has worked through the supply chain issues that had delayed fiber build-outs during the course of 2021, which led to AT&T reaching 2.6 million locations rather than the 3 million that it had planned.
In terms of financials for the fourth quarter and full-year of 2021, AT&T reported that it is seeing growth across wireless, fiber and HBO Max — its three primary areas of focus as it has slimmed the company down and sold off assets outside those core businesses.
“A year and a half ago, we began simplifying our business to reposition AT&T for growth and we’re extremely pleased with how we’ve executed on that commitment,” said Stankey in a statement, ading that AT&T continues to sharpen its focus. “Our
momentum is strong and we’re confident there is more opportunity to continue to grow our customer base and drive costs from the business.”
Among the highlights reported from the company’s financial results:
- Consolidated revenues of $41.0 billion in the fourth quarter, and $168.9 billion for the full year. This was down about 10% due to divested businesses, the company said.
- 884,000 postpaid phone net adds during the fourth quarter, with postpaid phone churn of 0.85%; prepaid phone net adds were 24,000. Service revenues for wireless were up 4.6%, with equipment revenues up 6.2% compared to the same time last year. AT&T also had 31,000 tablet/computing device net additions and 370,000 net adds that fell under “other” types of devices.
- AT&T reported fiber net adds of 271,000 during the fourth quarter, with revenues up 1.4%, although it said that overall broadband revenues for the company increased 5.4% year-over-year.
- AT&T expects to see at least three percent growth in wireless service revenue during the course of 2022.
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