AT&T to invest more than $17B in 2009, expand 3G network

AT&T said that it planned on investing between $17 billion and $18 billion in 2009. In addition, the company will create 3,000 jobs and expand its 3G HSPA network.

The company said that around $11.6 billion of the investments would go to improving the coverage, speed and capacity of its wireless and wireline broadband networks. AT&T said it would add 3,000 jobs in 2009 but that it would also probably be cutting jobs from its wireline business, so the net effect is not known. 

AT&T also placed special emphasis on improving quality across its 3G HSPA footprint, and said it would add 2,100 new cell sites across the country in 2009 and expand 3G service to 20 new markets. AT&T said some of the planned expansions and network improvements include nearly doubling the total network capacity in most markets by adding spectrum capacity at 850 MHz, trialing faster data speeds of eventually up to 20 Mbps and expanding the company's WiFi footprint.

The company has come under intense competitive pressure recently from Verizon Communications. AT&T's wireless division, AT&T Mobility, lost its position as the nation's largest wireless carrier to Verizon Wireless. Some of the moves made by AT&T in the wake of Verizon Wireless' $28.1 billion acquisition of Alltel--such as its $944 purchase of Centennial Communications and its $275 million acquisition of WiFi service provider Wayport--were seen as attempts to regain its competitive footing against Verizon. 

For more:
- see this release

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