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AT&T says it is OK with 5 million customers receiving unlimited data on its network

Posted: , by Alan F.

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AT&T says it is OK with 5 million customers receiving unlimited data on its network
With more than 5 million AT&T customers now signed up for unlimited data thanks to a deal it offers its DirecTV subscribers, is the nation's second largest carrier putting too much pressure on its network? Not according to Glenn Lurie, president and CEO of AT&T’s Mobility and Consumer Operations. AT&T has several tricks underneath its sleeves that make sure that the network can handle the increased load it faces.

It might sound like alphabet soup, but AT&T is using things like network functions virtualization (NFV), and software-defined networking (SDN) to make sure that its network can handle the increasing traffic. And analysts at securities house Jefferies say that even before it participates in the current FCC 600MHz auction, the carrier has enough airwaves to increase its LTE capacity by 50% in the coming years. Some of the increase comes from the refarming of 2G/3G spectrum.

AT&T currently owns 140MHz of spectrum and uses just 100MHz of it at present. The analysts at Jefferies say that AT&T can also use some of the tricks that other wireless operators are using in order to get the most from its network. That includes widening channels and increasing traffic content by using carrier aggregation. MIMO (multiple-input and multiple-output) is another such tool that is employed to increase the number of signals being sent and received over the same radio channel. Consider it a way for carriers to carry more data without having to build out expensive new cell towers.

"We believe the company has ample tools to address on-going traffic requirements. From a spectrum perspective, AT&T has more than 40MHz available to be deployed (AWS-3, WCS, 700MHz), which could add 50%+ more capacity to the LTE network in the coming years. The refarming of 2G/3G spectrum (currently ~60% of spectrum deployed) provides an additional source, and we expect AT&T to acquire spectrum in the Broadcaster auction currently underway. Though less aggressive than some of its peers, AT&T can also leverage small cell deployments for incremental capacity, while MIMO and carrier aggregation provide additional tools yet to be fully deployed."-Jefferies

source: FierceWireless

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posted on 16 Sep 2016, 20:17 5

1. Doakie (Posts: 2227; Member since: 06 May 2009)


If they don't mind so much I wish they would let us switch our Family shared plan to an unlimited plan.

posted on 17 Sep 2016, 01:47 1

9. Bernoulli (Posts: 4327; Member since: 01 Sep 2012)


If you have direct tv or their home internet (DSL or U verse) they can switch you. Just ask.

posted on 16 Sep 2016, 20:18 14

2. tedkord (Posts: 14123; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


In other words, all the crud about needing caps because of network congestion was pure BS. It was about increasing profits, and only about that.

posted on 16 Sep 2016, 22:06

4. Mxyzptlk (unregistered)


Maybe in the beginning that may have been true. Now, I think it's ridiculous like you said.

posted on 17 Sep 2016, 03:23

11. tedkord (Posts: 14123; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


It was never true

posted on 17 Sep 2016, 08:50

13. o0Exia0o (Posts: 901; Member since: 01 Feb 2013)


Yes and No.

Yes in a sense that allowing all of their customer unlimited unfettered access to the network would congest it and degrade the customer experience for all users.

No in a sense that while this plan is labeled as "unlimited" they cap 4G data speeds at 22GB then you are dropped to HSPA+ or 2G for the duration of the billing period. So while you can use the plan to your hearts desire the speed at which you are using it changes.

Its nearly the same as T-Mobiles new one-size fits all plans with some minor differences...

posted on 16 Sep 2016, 21:34

3. AlikMalix (unregistered)


Proud to be "One of Five Million".

On serious note, I guess it's a little reassurance that my unlimited isn't going away anytime soon.

posted on 16 Sep 2016, 22:33

6. bigdawg23 (Posts: 462; Member since: 25 May 2011)


I am also one as well. If though it's supposed to be 22GB then you get throttled. I have seen many claim they are at 40 and nothing.

What's nice is Directv and NFL Sunday ticket can stream and not effected any data. Sunday sat st the airport and streamed 4GB on one game on my tablet.

posted on 17 Sep 2016, 01:24

8. chebner (Posts: 236; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


I've been on the unlimited plan since April. We have 4 lines. Average per month usage has been 27GB, with a high of 36GB. The throttling is so infrequent it's really hard to know if you're being throttled or your just not getting that great a signal. The only time I've really been able to be pretty certain I'm being throttled is when I'm downloading a big new app or update at a couple hundred KB per second instead of a few MBs or more per second. I've never been able to notice throttling when I've been streaming something.

Overall I've really been happy with it.

posted on 17 Sep 2016, 13:13

14. mike2959 (Posts: 578; Member since: 08 Oct 2011)


Exact same boat. Same amount of Data, 1 month 1 line was over 30GB alone. I didn't notice any speed reductions or issues.
With the DIRECTV bundle it's quality services.

posted on 17 Sep 2016, 17:58

16. AlikMalix (unregistered)


I think the wording says that they "may" throttle you after you hit over 22gb and that's only during peak hours. Not necessarily "will" throttle you if the network isn't congested.

posted on 17 Sep 2016, 15:59

15. Furbal (unregistered)


Same, unlimited since October 2008ish

posted on 16 Sep 2016, 22:07 1

5. Mxyzptlk (unregistered)


If they offered unlimited data like they do for cricket, I don't see why they shouldn't have it without using direct TV.

posted on 16 Sep 2016, 22:55

7. Adsr14 (Posts: 118; Member since: 08 Aug 2015)


I have cricket but my speeds are limited to 8mbps which is ok but maybe the speed limit has something to do with it I don't know.

posted on 17 Sep 2016, 01:51

10. Bernoulli (Posts: 4327; Member since: 01 Sep 2012)


Yep, I have unlimited on cricket and bro I'm using an unlocked phone and I get unlimited tethering also. I couldn't be happier with cricket. Currently at 56 gigabytes and middle of my billing cycle.

posted on 17 Sep 2016, 08:07

12. sinfulta (Posts: 278; Member since: 11 Dec 2008)


Their network is garbage. I left Verizon of 12years to ATT for this past year (Tmobile and Sprint are horrible where I live)... and it's been the worst year of my life. I can't wait to go back to Verizon. I will literally pay whatever they want cause they are worth every penny to me at this point. Especially the recent drives across country, and travel I have done this year.

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