AT&T Unveils 2.3GHz WCS Plans

AT&T Mobility plans to start deploying 2.3GHz Wireless Communications Services (WCS) spectrum for Long Term Evolution (LTE) use commencing this summer, according to Tom Keathley, senior vice president of network and product planning. In an interview with Fierce Wireless, Mr Keathley revealed that the rollout will commence in the coming months and continue into 2016. The spectrum will primarily be used to add extra capacity to AT&T’s network and will be deployed in densely populated, urban areas.

In August 2012 saw AT&T agree a deal worth up to USD600 million to acquire San Diego-based spectrum holding company NextWave Wireless, a major holder of 2.3GHz WCS frequencies. The deal effectively combined the nation’s two largest WCS spectrum holders (AT&T being the largest). Subsequently, May 2014 saw AT&T ink an agreement to purchase 19 WCS licences from Sprint Corp; the concessions covered a number of locations across the South, including markets in Florida, Louisiana, Texas, Alabama and Georgia.

WCS spectrum was first auctioned in 1997, but has never been utilized for mobile broadband usage due to technical rules designed to avoid possible interference with satellite radio users in adjacent spectrum bands. Encouragingly for AT&T, October 2012 saw the FCC unanimously approve changes to the 2.3GHz WCS band that would effectively allow AT&T to utilize the spectrum for LTE network deployment.


AT&T Extends VoLTE to New Markets

AT&T Mobility has introduced voice-over-Long Term Evolution (VoLTE) and HD Voice technology in select areas of the District of Columbia (DoC), Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. The carrier’s first VoLTE deployments occurred in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and Wisconsin in May this year.

In addition, AT&T and rival Verizon Wireless had agreed previously to ensure that VoLTE calls made by customers using the carriers’ respective networks can interconnect with one another. Engineers from both companies are working through a full set of requirements, starting with extensive lab testing and then moving on to field trials. The cellular duo hopes to enable VoLTE-to-VoLTE connections in 2015.

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