AT&T capex in 2021

AT&T said the vast majority of its capital expenditures are spent on its networks. (Getty Images)

AT&T capex in 2021: $21 billion

In 2020, AT&T spent about $19.7 billion in capex, according to its 10K annual report. The company is boosting that in 2021, estimating a capex spend in the $21 billion range.

“The vast majority of our capital expenditures are spent on our networks, including product development and related support systems,” stated AT&T in its annual report. In 2020, it placed $4.6 billion of equipment in service under vendor financing arrangements (compared to $2.6 billion in 2019).

The carrier has been hampered by its heavy debt, which it’s been striving to reduce. In 2020 it eliminated some of its debt by selling its operations in Puerto Rico and in its Central European Media Enterprises.

But AT&T bid heavily in the recent C-band Auction 107, spending $23.4 billion to win 1,621 licenses in the 3.7-3.98 GHz band. Although the cost of spectrum is not included in its capital expenditure numbers, it still factors into the company’s overall financial picture.

RELATED: AT&T’s debt hampers its C-band aspirations

In other 10K information, AT&T said it expects to redeploy spectrum currently used for its 3G services as it transitions to 5G service and projects that it will discontinue service on its 3G network in early 2022. “As of December 31, 2020, about 5% of our postpaid subscribers were using 3G handsets, and we expect them to transition to newer technologies,” stated the company.

AT&T capex in 2021