AT&T makes inroads with DAS, tops 400 LTE markets

AT&T's (NYSE:T) distributed antenna system (DAS) strategy recently paid off with an expansive rollout at a high-profile stadium, while the carrier's other investments in IP broadband services have further extended its LTE reach and made it more competitive overall in wireless.

AT&T's newest DAS deployment is at Seattle's CenturyLink Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks National Football League team and Major League Soccer's Seattle Sounders FC.

Installation of DAS antennas throughout CenturyLink field is part of AT&T's Project Velocity IP (VIP), the three-year IP broadband investment plan announced last November. As part of Project VIP, the carrier pledged to add more than 1,000 DAS nationwide by year-end 2015. It is also deploying 10,000 macro cell sites and more than 40,000 small cells under the program.

"We would like to thank AT&T, our contracted service provider, for implementing a neutral-hosted DAS with the opportunity for all willing carriers to participate," said Chip Suttles, vice president of technology for CenturyLink Field.

AT&T noted that during the first half of 2013, it invested nearly $250 million in its wireless and wired networks in Washington, including the activation of LTE networks in cities and towns across the state. Nationwide, AT&T has deployed LTE coverage to 400 markets and more than 240 million POPs, according to LightReading.

Rival T-Mobile US, which started much later on its LTE rollout, last week reached 180 million POPs in 154 markets, said TmoNews.

Meanwhile, as AT&T gains traction with its LTE rollout, it is also winning kudos for the improved performance of its network.

Most recently, RootMetrics said its wireless testing is showing AT&T edging out perennial favorite Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) based upon early results of its latest study, according to a CNET article. The study assesses carriers' wireless networks based upon speed and reliability across call, data, and text performance.

RootMetrics' newest study began in July with testing in 60 markets. The company's wireless network tests will continue through the year, and final results may differ when tests ultimately wrap up, indicated RootMetrics CEO Bill Moore.

Moore noted AT&T's network performance has gotten markedly better over the past few months, with the call failure rate falling by 60 percent from a year ago and data reliability improving as well.

For more:
- see this AT&T release
- see this LightReading article
- see this CNET article
- see this TmoNews article

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