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For AT&T, an unprecedented investment period from 2012-2014 laid the groundwork for a robust mobile Internet offering that will heighten customer engagement.
During the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call on Jan. 28, AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson explained plans for 2015.
“With these foundational investments largely behind us, and several strategic investments announced to date, the groundwork has now been laid for 2015 and beyond,” Stephenson said during the call. “And today our customers are expecting us to deliver video across all of our platforms, whether it’s traditional linear video, or over-the-top on U-verse broadband, or video to the mobile device. So we’ve been assembling the pieces that we need to do exactly that.”
Stephenson said the company’s fixed broadband footprint will quickly begin expanding to 70 million customer locations in the U.S. when the DIRECTV transaction is completed.
“And then the Cricket acquisition, it is proving to be a cost-effective way to strengthen our spectrum portfolio, which is a prerequisite for being in the mobile video delivery business,” he explained. “We also lay the groundwork for expanding these capabilities outside the U.S. We’ve always believed that demand for the mobile Internet and economic benefits experienced in the U.S. would be repeated throughout the world. And so with that, we’ve been looking for opportunities to gain a wireless foothold in key markets and the investment climate is right.”
Stephenson said Iusacell and Nextel International’s Mexico assets affords AT&T this opportunity.
“The changes in the Mexican legal and regulatory framework make it attractive for a new entrant to invest,” he said. “And we’ve closed on Iusacell. And then once we complete Nextel, we will have a very deep spectrum portfolio, and this is the first element needed for a robust mobile Internet offering. We will now have the ability to extend our U.S. network directly into Mexico, building one seamless network that’s spanning 400 million people. And whether it’s cross-border businesses, Latino customers of either Cricket or AT&T, or Mexican consumers, we will be the only company with mobile Internet capabilities spanning both countries. And don’t forget, DIRECTV brings the premier video business in Latin America.”
During 2012-2014, AT&T built its LTE network to cover more than 300 million people.
“We expanded our U-verse broadband footprint to 57 million customer locations,” Stephenson said, “and we deployed fiber to 725,000 business locations. At the same time, we re-engineered our mobile network and we now deliver the strongest LTE signal in the U.S. We are giving our customers now a choice of moving away from heavy handset subsidies in exchange for lower monthly prices. And as a result, our customer satisfaction continues to climb, and defections continue to fall. And you can see that by our record low annual postpaid churn rate.”
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