AT&T to invest up to $19 billion on network upgrades

AT&T said that they are prepared to invest an extra $2 billion on network upgrades to $18 or $19 billion, up from $17.3 billion last year.  AT&T said its primary focus is to help improve their wireless network around 26 of the major cities in the U.S. for customers.

AT&T mentioned that they will be spending the upgrade costs on more cell phone towers around the nation with fiber-optic connections to increase overall speed.  AT&T’s primary focus will be on struggling cities such as San Francisco and New York, which is facing an increase of subscribers and network issues because of the overwhelming number of users.

AT&T will be adding the new Apple iPad to their network in the coming weeks, adding more strain to the already struggling network.  It appears that Verizon’s attack ads against AT&T have started to hurt the company’s reputation, but still managed to gain 2.7 million wireless subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2009.  However, 1 million of those customers were non-phone related devices.

AT&T said it activated 3.1 million iPhone’s in the fourth quarter, a continued growth for the company and second highest quarter total so far.  With an arrival of another iPhone rumored to be coming this summer, AT&T will need to work fast to improve their network in the U.S. to keep up with the consumer demand for wireless data.

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