AT&T*, building on its strong 2010 record of network accomplishments, today announced a series of network improvements planned for this year in Houston and surrounding areas as part of its 2011 initiative to deliver the nation’s most-advanced mobile broadband experience. The announcement was made at an event at the Houston Technology Center.
David Nichols, president of AT&T Texas, said AT&T plans to continue its commitment to delivering superior service to its Houston-area customers in 2011 with an aggressive plan of network improvements. Plans include:
- Replacing about 2,400 antennas at approximately 400 cell sites inside Beltway 8 to enhance voice quality, reduce dropped calls and deliver more efficient, consistent mobile broadband speeds.
- Delivering more wireless capacity to more than 250 cell towers in the area through the addition of new layers of frequency, also known as “carriers,” to more efficiently manage available spectrum and increase mobile broadband capacity at local cell sites.
- Installing 17 additional cell sites.
- Upgrading nearly 50 more cell sites to mobile broadband.
- 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.
“The nation’s fastest mobile broadband network is getting even faster with 4G**,” Nichols said. “AT&T is continuing to deploy enhanced backhaul connections at existing cell sites locally and across the nation to enable 4G speeds. Here in Houston, we’re already seeing 4G speeds of up to approximately 6 Mbps in some areas of the city with HSPA+ and expanded backhaul, and we’ll continue to deploy enhanced backhaul connections to hundreds of additional cell sites this year.”
This year’s plans build upon the improvements AT&T completed in 2010 to strengthen its Houston area mobile broadband network, including the installation of five new cell sites, the upgrade of nearly 60 more cell sites to mobile broadband, increasing wireless capacity by an additional 50 percent on more than 350 cell sites and the installation of distributed antenna systems in several targeted venues to handle increased traffic.
“We invested more than $825 million in our Houston area wireless and wireline networks from 2008 through 2010, helping AT&T customers take advantage of the numerous capabilities on their wireless devices,” Nichols said. “Our continued investment and efforts are resulting in a stronger, better performing mobile broadband experience for our Houston customers. Our AT&T network in Houston today has a dropped call rate of less than one percent, which is better than the national average of any major provider.”
AT&T’s mobile broadband network provides customers with the ability to talk and surf at the same time; it's also up to 35 percent faster than the largest competitor’s CDMA 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 phones work in less than 40 countries, said Chris Penrose, vice president and general manager of AT&T in South Texas. Business Traveler magazine also recently named AT&T as having the “Best Mobile Coverage in the World” – the fourth time AT&T has received the distinction.
“Consumers who want the nation’s fastest mobile broadband network and the best selection of wireless devices will go with AT&T,” Penrose said. “We’re working hard to provide our customers with best-in-class service, and our ongoing investment in the local wireless network is one way to accomplish this.”
Umesh Verma, CEO of Blue Lance Inc. and chairman of the Greater Houston Partnership’s Technology Infrastructure Committee, said AT&T’s significant investment to improve its network will further bolster Houston’s reputation as technology leader and a great place to live and work.
“High-tech expansions like this one help our business community, our local economy, our overall quality of life and creates jobs at all levels,” Verma 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.”
Jeffrey L. Boney, founder and CEO, Texas Business Alliance, said the widespread coverage of AT&T’s mobile broadband network benefits many industries and businesses throughout Texas and the Houston area. “With today’s advanced wireless devices, business owners and employees can conduct business from practically anywhere in the general area,” Boney said. “It’s more efficient and it saves time because our employees can call on customers and not have to worry about getting back to the office to do paperwork. They can do it all on the go.”
AT&T is an industry leader in delivering the benefits of mobile broadband networks, devices and applications. With the nation’s fastest mobile broadband network, AT&T provides faster mobile data speeds and simultaneous voice and data capabilities for an amazing wireless voice and data experience.
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 provides 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 Houston 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.