AT&T’s network is adding C-Band 5G and 3 million new fiber locations

What you need to know

  • AT&T will begin deploying 40MHz of C-Band spectrum in 2021.
  • AT&T acquired 80MHz of C-Band for $27.4 billion.
  • Fiber broadband is being expanded to 3 million new locations in 90 metro areas.
  • AT&T is also adding 5G service to its older unlimited plans.

AT&T had its online Analyst & Investor Day 2021 today and it has a lot to say about fiber, 5G, and HBO Max. AT&T says that it expects data usage to grow to an average of 4.6TB by 2025 and its combination of fiber broadband and wireless puts the company in an optimal position to keep up with these new demands.

AT&T states that it is currently utilizing only 70% of its mid-band and low-band spectrum. In a recent FCC auction, AT&T secured around 80MHz of near-nationwide C-Band spectrum for $27.4 billion and will be able to start deploying 40MHz by the end of 2021. With C-Band spectrum beginning deployment in late 2021 and additional headroom in the rest of its low-band and mid-band spectrum, AT&T is confident in its position.

AT&T also believes that mmWave will have a lot of potential in dense areas such as airports and stadiums even as it focuses more on building its sub-6 5G network. AT&T’s current 5G network is based on low-band spectrum and mmWave only.

AT&T is also expanding its home fiber broadband service with 3 million new locations in 90 metro areas. This will be made a bit easier for AT&T since it already has fiber in many neighborhoods

This expansion will help AT&T to keep up with increased network demand citing a large increase in uplink demand as well as downlink. Fiber is capable of symmetrical gigabit speeds with the ability to expand to multi-gigabit speed in the future. Fiber expansion also helps with wireless deployment and AT&T believes a hybrid fixed and wireless solution will be needed to keep up with demand.

AT&T is upgrading its gateways to Wi-Fi 6 compared to Wi-Fi 5 to improve in-home wireless performance. Backup wireless data will also be added to gateways. Finally, AT&T will be releasing 5G home internet service in the future as well.

AT&T also announced that it’s adding 5G support to its older unlimited plans. This will allow people to keep the plan they prefer even if they want to upgrade to a 5G phone.


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