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AT&T spaffs another $14bn on 4G cellular and fibre

Aims to get in below the ground floor

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AT&T will spend an additional $14bn over the next three years rolling out cellular and fibre optic infrastructure, accelerating deployment plans for both 4G and fixed internet connections.

The blatantly-backronymed Project Velocity IP (VIP) will see an additional $8bn spent on cellular while $6bn gets dropped on fixed connections. The extra expenditure will bump up annual infrastructure spending to $22bn a year for the next three years, after which it will drop again, but in that time 4G will roll out to 99 per cent of "customer locations" while AT&T's fixed broadband reaches 75 per cent of them.

AT&T can apparently afford this thanks to growing revenues across its portfolio of connectivity services, and a confidence in the future which also enabled the publicly listed company to increase its quarterly dividend to shareholders by more than 2 per cent.

Americans do pay considerably more for their cellular data, which is one of the reasons Wi-Fi is so overwhelmingly popular in the USA, but those prices are probably more sustainable than pricing in Europe, where voice calls are still subsidising data services.

AT&T's fibre will be stretched to an additional million locations too. The plan is to get fibre into the basements of half the office blocks within AT&T's wireline coverage by the end of 2015, with LTE (4G) filling in any gaps which remain.

Not only that, but AT&T reckons it can spend that money while increasing revenue ahead of the US economy.

Impressive stuff if it can be achieved, though one has to wonder which operators, fixed and mobile, will be priced out of the market by AT&T's investment, or how much more customers will have to pay for their connectivity. ®

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