Customer complaints and Verizon's media campaign attacking AT&T's 3G infrastructure has given a lot of negative publicity to Ma Bell's wireless network which has seen a 5000% increase in data traffic over the past three years. Now with the iPad, iPhone 4G and a slew of other smartphones launching in the market over the next few months, AT&T has its task cut out.
Gearing up for these challenges, the company has said that it will be increasing its infrastructure spending by up to 10% this year. In a media release, AT&T has said that the invesments on wireline and wireless networks would be nearly $19 billion this year; up from the $17.3 billion that was invested last year. Of this, a major portion of the increased budget is expected to be spent on wireless and backhaul networks that will see an increase of close to $2 billion over last year's numbers.
Without doubt, high smartphone density areas like California are expected to see significant levels of infrastructure spending. The company says it will be adding close to 200 new cell sites and upgrade 500 others to 3G this year. Compare this with the investments in California last year when 200 new cell sites were added and another 320 sites were upgraded to 3G. The total investments in the region since 2007 has been close to $1.5 billion.
These additional investments are likely to bring significant improvements in AT&T's network over its rivals, including Verizon. As folks at VentureBeat note, AT&T's investments last year was very much on par with Verizon's own investments which was also around the $17 billion mark.
What do you think of these numbers? Will this investment be enough to tackle the challenge from iPad and new smartphone devices like iPhone 4G? Tell us your views in the comments.
[via Venture Beat]