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AT&T Building Most Advanced Mobile Broadband Experience in Seattle, Announces 2011 Network Upgrade Plans
Mar 03, 2011 (03:03 PM EST)


AT&T to Expand Backhaul in 2011 in Seattle to Enable 4G Speeds, Increase Wireless Network Capacity at More Than 400 Cell Sites, Upgrade Hundreds of Cell Sites

SEATTLE, March 3, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- AT&T*, building on its strong 2010 record of network accomplishments, today announced network improvement plans designed to enable 4G speeds** and enhanced reliability to Seattle and surrounding communities in 2011. The wireless network enhancement plans are part of AT&T's planned $19-billion investment in its wireless and wireline networks and other capital projects in 2011.  

Dan Youmans, president of AT&T Washington, says AT&T plans the following network improvements in the Seattle area in 2011:

  • Deploying enhanced backhaul connections to two-thirds of the area's cell sites. Combined with HSPA+ technology, these backhaul deployments will enable 4G speeds for local customers.
  • Delivering additional wireless capacity to more than 400 cell sites in the area through the addition of new layers of frequency, also known as "carriers." Adding extra capacity to a cell site is like widening a highway – you're creating more lanes to accommodate increasing traffic.
  • Installing new cell sites to improve network coverage.
  • Installing distributed antenna systems in high-traffic areas and facilities, such as office buildings and sporting and event venues, to provide enhanced wireless coverage to customers in indoor or outdoor spaces where geographical limitations might otherwise prevent an optimal wireless experience.  

Youmans said AT&T invested more than $200 million in its Seattle area wireless and wireline network from 2008 through 2010 as part of its commitment to superior service in the area.

The nation's fastest mobile broadband network is getting faster with 4G. A key planned upgrade for 2011 is deployment of enhanced backhaul connections to more than two thirds of the cell sites in the Seattle area to enable 4G speeds. Backhaul connections carry traffic between cell sites and AT&T's nationwide network. Enhanced fiber-optic and ethernet backhaul connections expand capacity many times over, and enable additional expansion in the years to come.

"We're investing in our Seattle network to help AT&T customers take advantage of the numerous capabilities of their wireless devices," Youmans said. "This year, we're committed to providing best-in-class wireless voice service to our customers, and we're backing that up with the right investments."

The investments made in the Seattle area wireless and wireline networks are part of the $1.3 billion AT&T invested from 2008-2010 across Washington, Youmans said.

This year's plans build upon the improvements AT&T completed in 2010 to strengthen its Seattle area mobile broadband network, including the installation of four new cell sites, increasing wireless capacity by at least an additional 50 percent on more than 170 cell sites and the installation of distributed antenna systems in several targeted venues to handle increased traffic.

AT&T's advanced network provides several important advantages for customers. Unlike some competitors, AT&T's mobile-broadband network provides customers with the ability to talk and surf at the same time. For instance, you can look up directions to an event while staying on the phone with your boss, or browse your favorite social media sites while chatting with a friend. AT&T's mobile broadband network also is up to 35 percent faster than our largest competitor's CDMA-based network on average nationally.

AT&T also provides access to voice service in more than 220 countries and data service in more than 200 countries. AT&T's largest competitor's CDMA-based devices work in fewer than 45 countries.  Business Traveler magazine recently named AT&T as having the "Best Mobile Coverage in the World" – the fourth time AT&T has received the distinction.

"AT&T is consistently among the top companies in the U.S. in terms of our capital investment and we're committed to helping our customers right here in the Seattle market take advantage of the numerous capabilities of their wireless devices," said Mike Maxwell, AT&T's vice president and general manager for the Pacific Northwest.

Daniel Malarkey, Deputy Director of the Washington State Department of Commerce, said AT&T's significant investment to improve its network will further bolster Seattle's reputation as a great place to live and work.

"High-tech expansions like this one help our business community, our local economy and our overall quality of life," Malarkey said. "Few businesses today are more competitive than the wireless industry. That level of competition results in investment and new technology, which delivers benefits to the entire community."

AT&T's focus is delivering the nation's most advanced mobile broadband experience, which includes delivering the benefits of mobile broadband networks, devices and applications. With the nation's fastest mobile broadband network, AT&T provides accelerated mobile data speeds and simultaneous voice and data capabilities for an amazing wireless voice and data experience.  At the same time, AT&T is widening its lead in smartphones and devices, with 20 4G devices planned for 2011, including an industry-leading Android lineup.  And we're driving development of wide-ranging mobile applications with three AT&T Foundry collaborative innovation centers planned for this year, as well as leadership in multiple initiatives to provide new tools for apps developers.

AT&T's mobile broadband network is based on the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) family of technologies that includes GSM and UMTS, the most widely used wireless network platforms in the world.

AT&T also operates the nation's largest Wi-Fi network*** with more than 24,000 hotspots in the U.S. and access to more than 125,000 hotspots globally through roaming agreements. Most AT&T smartphone customers get access to our entire national Wi-Fi network at no additional cost, and Wi-Fi usage doesn't count against customers' monthly data plans.

For more information about AT&T's coverage in Seattle or anywhere in the United States, consumers can visit the AT&T Coverage Viewer. Using the online tool, AT&T customers can measure coverage quality from a street address, intersection, ZIP code or even a landmark.

For updates on the AT&T wireless network, please visit the AT&T network news page.

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

**4G speeds delivered by HSPA+ with enhanced backhaul.  Available in limited areas.  Availability increasing with ongoing backhaul deployment. Requires 4G device. Learn more at att.com/network.  Actual speeds experienced will vary and depend on several factors, including device, location, capacity, facilities, and other conditions.

***Largest based on company branded and operated hotspots. Access includes AT&T Wi-Fi Basic.  A Wi-Fi enabled device required. Other restrictions apply. See www.attwifi.com for details and locations.

About AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is a premier communications holding company. Its subsidiaries and affiliates – AT&T operating companies – are the providers of AT&T services in the United States and around the world. With a powerful array of network resources that includes the nation's fastest mobile broadband network, AT&T is a leading provider of wireless, Wi-Fi, high speed Internet and voice services. A leader in mobile broadband, AT&T also offers the best wireless coverage worldwide, offering the most wireless phones that work in the most countries.  It also offers advanced TV services under the AT&T U-verse® and AT&T |DIRECTV brands. The company's suite of IP-based business communications services is one of the most advanced in the world. In domestic markets, AT&T Advertising Solutions and AT&T Interactive are known for their leadership in local search and advertising. In 2010, AT&T again ranked among the 50 Most Admired Companies by FORTUNE® magazine. 

Additional information about AT&T Inc. and the products and services provided by AT&T subsidiaries and affiliates is available at http://www.att.com.  This AT&T news release and other announcements are available at http://www.att.com/newsroom and as part of an RSS feed at www.att.com/rss. Or follow our news on Twitter at @ATT. Find us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/ATT to discover more about our consumer and wireless services or at www.Facebook.com/ATTSmallBiz to discover more about our small business services.

© 2011 AT&T Intellectual Property. All rights reserved. Mobile broadband not available in all areas. AT&T, the AT&T logo and all other marks contained herein are trademarks of AT&T Intellectual Property and/or AT&T affiliated companies.

Cautionary Language Concerning Forward-Looking Statements

Information set forth in this press release contains financial estimates and other forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties, and actual results might differ materially. A discussion of factors that may affect future results is contained in AT&T's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. AT&T disclaims any obligation to update and revise statements contained in this news release based on new information or otherwise.

SOURCE AT&T Inc.