The nation’s fastest mobile broadband network is getting even faster and delivering strong voice performance, according to comprehensive third-party national drive testing.
AT&T* has invested nearly $6 billion in wireless-related initiatives over the first three quarters of 2010, a 55 percent increase over the first three quarters of 2009. These efforts are resulting in national average mobile broadband speeds that are substantially faster than the competition, with the nearest competitor running 20 percent slower than AT&T on average nationally, and our largest competitor by subscriber count running 60 percent slower than AT&T on average nationally.
These are the findings from the latest comprehensive, scientifically valid national drive testing conducted by industry expert testing firm Global Wireless Solutions Inc. (GWS). GWS compiles wireless network performance results covering more than 950,000 road miles in more than 400 U.S. markets representing about 88 percent of the U.S. population, making it one of the most comprehensive and thorough studies of U.S. mobile network performance.
Data has quickly emerged as a primary mode of mobile communication, as more and more Americans view video, upload pictures, send e-mail and surf the Internet from their wireless devices. And as people use more mobile broadband, a 20 percent difference in speed can make a real difference in getting things done. For example: based on national average speeds, AT&T customers could download an MP3 album (40 megabytes) more than a minute faster with AT&T than the next-fastest wireless network. An 80-megabyte video file would download about 2 minutes faster on average with AT&T as opposed to the next-fastest network. The same video file would take more than 5 minutes longer to download on average with AT&T’s largest competitor’s network.
“Data is now the preferred form of mobile communication, and faster mobile broadband speeds make virtually every app more enjoyable and efficient for the user,” said Iain Gillott, president of wireless industry analyst firm iGR. “As the market continues to develop, wide availability of fast mobile broadband will be increasingly important to mobile subscribers, both consumer and business users alike.”
The GWS drive tests also revealed that 98.59 percent of voice calls connected over the AT&T network nationwide are completed without interruption. That’s a difference of about one-tenth of one percentage point, or one call in 1,000, from the only higher score in the industry.
Assuming a positive regulatory environment, AT&T plans to invest between $18 billion and $19 billion in our wireless and wireline networks in 2010, including a $2 billion increase in wireless-related network investment over 2009 levels. AT&T is investing to enhance the speed and coverage of its mobile broadband network through the addition of hundreds of new cell sites; additional layers of wireless capacity in markets across the country; and deployment of HSPA 7.2 and HSPA+ software and fiber-optic backhaul connections to support even faster mobile broadband speeds.
“We’re very pleased with the nationwide results of GWS drive testing, which demonstrate that we’re delivering a superior mobile broadband experience on a nationwide basis,” said John Donovan, AT&T’s chief technology officer. “Our top priority for the weeks and months to come is to continue our focus on network enhancements and improvements to ensure continued access to fast mobile broadband speeds and reliable voice service.”
AT&T has focused on delivering the best overall mobile broadband experience for our customers, building a powerful network and leading the industry in multiple technologies that enhance the mobile experience, including:
- The nation’s largest Wi-Fi network, with more than 23,000 Hot Spots in all 50 states. Qualifying AT&T smartphone customers can access virtually all of these hotspots automatically. AT&T Wi-Fi connections continue to skyrocket, with 106.9 million connections on AT&T’s U.S. Wi-Fi network in the third quarter, exceeding the total of 85.5 million connections made during the entire year in 2009.
- Pilots of Wi-Fi hot zones to cover high-traffic areas in major cities to provide another powerful option for broadband on the go.
- Thousands of distributed antenna networks that enhance coverage and capacity in large buildings, campuses and public areas where people tend to congregate, like stadiums and convention centers. Such systems can increase capacity in their coverage areas by more than 1,000 percent.
- AT&T Microcell, which can enhance in-home coverage for customers.