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WASHINGTON, April 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- To improve customers' experience, including meeting surging demand for mobile Internet, AT&T* invested nearly $775 million in its Washington, DC area wireless and wireline networks from 2009 through 2011, resulting in significant improvements to the speed and reliability of its service in the nation's capital. 

To further improve the customer experience, the company also announced that it is reallocating spectrum from the older, voice-centric 2G network to help add capacity to 3G mobile Internet cell sites. As part of that plan, AT&T is contacting select customers in the DC metro area who use 2G devices to provide them with more details, including options for upgrading their 2G handsets at no cost or low cost while keeping their mobile numbers.

This reallocation of spectrum is one way AT&T is helping address the looming spectrum crunch, an issue facing the entire wireless industry. AT&T's mobile Internet traffic doubled nationally from 2010 to 2011, and has increased 20,000 percent over the past five years.

During 2011, AT&T made nearly 1,400 wireless network upgrades in three key categories in the Washington, DC metro area. These enhancements include:
  • Deploying faster and more reliable fiber-optic connections to more than 725 cell sites.
  • Adding capacity – like adding lanes to a highway – with the addition of an extra layer of spectrum, or "carriers" to more than 625 cell sites.
  • Activating nearly 25 new cell sites or towers to improve network coverage.
"Investments in mobile Internet infrastructure will help drive economic growth and stimulate jobs," said J. Michael Schweder, president, AT&T Mid Atlantic. "Our ongoing investments in Washington, DC will give business, residents and visitors to the District and the region access to a more advanced mobile Internet experience."

In late 2011, AT&T also turned on 4G LTE in the greater Washington, DC area, which is capable of delivering mobile Internet speeds up to 10 times faster than 3G**. Even as 4G LTE expands, AT&T customers are able to enjoy widespread, ultra-fast and consistent 4G speeds on their compatible device as they move in and out of LTE areas. AT&T has two 4G networks that work together for customers, LTE and HSPA+ with enhanced backhaul. With other carriers, when you travel outside of their LTE coverage area, you're on a much slower 3G network.

"We've made these investments because we're committed to improving service in the DC metro area," said Rob Forsyth, vice president and general manager for AT&T in greater Washington/Baltimore. "Today, AT&T customers in Washington, DC have access to the latest technology in our blazing-fast 4G LTE service. Our network allows customers to multi-task by simultaneously using voice and data, a huge advantage in a city where everyone is always on the go, doing several things at once." In the coming year, AT&T plans to continue to expand and improve their wireless network throughout the Washington metro area.

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