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AT&T to invest $14 billion to extend LTE & broadband coverage

AT&T is going to spend big to deliver better services to its customers, and by big I mean investing $14 billion large.

The increased spending will help AT&T expand its 4G LTE network, which is more efficient in transmitting data than the previous 3G generation.

“This is a major commitment to invest in 21st century communications infrastructure for the United States,” Randall Stephenson, AT&T’s chief executive, said in a statement. He also mentioned that the expansion will help to deliver high-speed internet to millions more people who did not have access to broadband before.

A portion of the investment will go towards expanding AT&T’s broadband network. Strategically, the company wants smartphone users to use the wired network instead to help alleviate the stress of data usage on the wireless network.

Verizon is currently in first place in terms of LTE coverage, with 420 cities. Whereas, AT&T’s LTE currently only covers about 80 cities, but AT&T expects that the investment will help to bring LTE to 300 million people by the end of 2014.

AT&T’s move to beef up its infrastructure follows recent moves by other major carriers in the U.S. to improve their respective services. Last month, T-Mobile USA bought out Metro PCS to expand on its own business. Sprint, another major U.S carrier, recently handed over the majority of the company over to SoftBank Japan in exchange for $20.1 billion.

The thought of catching up to Verizon is on the mind of most major carriers in the U.S., and AT&T is putting a lot of chips on the table, but so have T-Mobile and Sprint. Will AT&T retain second place in the race to be the largest carrier? The company is planning to infuse $22 billion into expanding its network by 2015, so why shouldn’t AT&T maintain its rightful place as the second best carrier?

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