AT&T’s head of network operations, Bill Smith, has revealed that the firm expects to add between 1,500 and 3,000 new cell sites to its network each year ‘for the foreseeable future’. A report from Fierce Wireless says the firm is also looking at the deployment of small cells and Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) to improve indoor and outdoor coverage, and increase capacity. AT&T has committed to deploying 40,000 small cells on its network by the end of 2015, and Smith said the carrier has already installed both indoor and outdoor small cells in 30 states.
AT&T’s stance is echoed by Ben Moreland, the CEO of US cellular tower operator Crown Castle, who told Fierce Wireless that the forthcoming auction of AWS-3 spectrum is likely to lead to the deployment of ‘several thousand’ new cell sites as well as the installation of additional equipment at existing sites. The AWS-3 spectrum sale is scheduled to begin in November, with 1,614 licences on offer which cover 65MHz of frequencies in the 1695MHz-1710MHz, 1755MHz-1780MHz, and 2155MHz-2180MHz bands. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is looking to raise at least USD10 billion from the sale.