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AT&T to Upgrade Network to LTE from 2011

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AT&T has awarded contracts to Alcatel Lucent and Ericsson as equipment suppliers for its planned deployment an LTE upgrade to its network. The selection of the two suppliers paves the way for AT&T's planned field trials of LTE technology later this year, with commercial deployment scheduled to begin in 2011.

As part of the supplier agreements, 3G equipment delivered to AT&T by the suppliers starting this year will also be convertible to LTE

As part of the agreements, AT&T has designated Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson as the domain suppliers for its Radio Access Network Domain. The multi-year agreement covers radio access network equipment needed to deliver LTE service. This equipment will be deployed at cell sites across AT&T's network to enable LTE speeds and functionality. Financial terms of the supplier agreements were not disclosed.

AT&T in January announced total 2010 capital expenditures are expected to be between $18 billion and $19 billion. These plans include an increase of approximately $2 billion in wireless network and backhaul investment, which will help ensure continued strong results in 3G network performance as well as preparation for planned deployment of LTE.

Earlier this year, AT&T upgraded 3G cell sites to HSPA 7.2 technology. Over the course of 2010 and 2011, AT&T plans to combine this upgrade with enhanced fiber-optic backhaul connectivity, which will support a considerable boost in 3G speeds as well as future LTE service.

AT&T wireless network investment plans for 2010 also include construction of about 2,000 new cell sites and adding new radio controllers and carriers at a pace that doubles deployment in 2009.

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Tags: at&t  alcatel-lucent  ericsson  lte  fiber-optic  3g network