AT&T Boosts 5G Networks Rollout as Online Video Demand Spikes

  • Video makes up more than half of network’s mobile data traffic
  • CTO Fuetsch attends Mobile World Congress in Barcelona

AT&T Inc., the second-largest U.S. mobile carrier, is accelerating the roll out of its 5G wireless networks, amid an effort to drive sales and subscriber growth by cross-selling bundles that include a combination of wireless and video services.

"Video now makes up more than half of our mobile data traffic," AT&T Chief Technology Officer Andre Fuetsch wrote in a blog post Monday. In the last year, video traffic grew over 75 percent and smartphones drove almost 75 percent of the network’s data traffic. "Data traffic on our mobile network has increased more than 250,000 percent since 2007," Fuetsch said. "We’ll stay ahead of this demand with a combination of speed, software and data." 

AT&T and Fuetsch are attending the annual Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona this week to share some of these developments with the wider community.

AT&T expects wireless networks in cities such as Indianapolis and Austin to initially offer theoretical peak speeds of 400 Mbps and higher during trials later this year. "As we continue densifying our network and deploying technologies like carrier aggregation and LTE-License Assisted Access, we expect to enable theoretical peak speeds up to 1 Gbps in some areas in 2017," Fuetsch added. Qualcomm Technologies Inc. and Ericsson AB as well as Nokia OYJ are partners of AT&T.

AT&T’s wireless service revenue, which includes revenue in its consumer mobility and business solutions segments, accounted for 36 percent of sales in 2016 and fell 0.7 percent year-over-year on rising adoption of handset financing plans and pricing pressure. This marks an improvement from a 2 percent decline in 2015, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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