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17 Feb

The New Unlimited Plan From AT&T Eliminates TV Requirement

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AT&T Unlimited Plan

One of the major drawbacks of AT&T’s former unlimited plan was that customers were forced to subscribe to a TV subscription and this drew off many customers from choosing the unlimited offering from AT&T. However, in a recent announcement, AT&T confirmed that they are planning to re-offer their unlimited data plan to their subscribers without requiring them to have a U-Verse or DirecTV packages.

Reports from several reliable sources indicate that the new offering from AT&T will be available to their customers in a few days. AT&T is one of the leading telephone and internet providers in the country, and it seems that they are planning to match their unlimited plan to that of Verizon, which offers four lines to their customers for just $180 without the need to subscribe to a television service.

Nevertheless, a single line offering of AT&T is a bit more expensive when compared to that of Verizon and it is available to the subscribers for $100. AT&T is charging $40 each for the second and third line. This means that the telecom giant is not charging the customers for the fourth line.

Just like Verizon, AT&T will also be slowing down customers when they are in “congested” or busy regions, if the customers have already crossed the 22 GB mark in a month. Reports indicate that customers who do not exceed 22 GB in a month will not be have to worry about AT&T’s this policy.

The new unlimited offer provided by AT&T will also include HD video. However, AT&T has confirmed that they will not allow their customers to use their smartphone as a mobile hot spot. The unlimited plan offered by some of the internet providers such as Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon does offer 10 GB of mobile hot spot data.

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In addition to that, AT&T customers who travel to Mexico and Canada will be able to add a “Roam North America” feature, which enables them to use their unlimited plan in both of the countries at zero additional charges. This means that AT&T customers will be able to enjoy unlimited calling, texting, and internet services while they are in these countries.

AT&T also added that their non-TV customers who stick with the oldest unlimited data offering would not be affected by this latest announcement. Reports indicate that this latest offering from AT&T is the best internet service, and will attract more customers to their offerings.

10 Feb

AT&T To Implement Wireless Internet Over Power Lines

DirecTV
DirecTV

Wireless Internet

The telecom giant AT&T Inc. is looking forward to providing high-speed wireless internet through the power lines across the nation. The company has announced that it had made a recent breakthrough in the process. Currently, the carrier is in talks with various power companies for testing its Project AirGig at more locations, which will be determined in the coming months. The primary location for these testing is in the U.S.

AT&T announced Project AirGig in September stating about the ease of installing these technology than fiber cables. It runs over a license-free spectrum while also delivering ultra fast wireless connectivity across homes and mobile devices. AT&T’s chief strategy officer John Donovan recently explained about the project in a statement. He said that, “Project AirGig has tremendous potential to transform internet access globally—well beyond our current broadband footprint and not just in the United States.”

This project will be instrumental in enabling low cost internet in rural areas and cities where the ample presence of power lines will make the connectivity option much easier. AT&T Labs have recently developed the technology for 4G LTE and 5G multi gigabit mobile networks through power lines. This is possible by the low-cost antenna and devices located on power lines that can regenerate millimeter wave signals for mobile communications.

“We are looking forward to begin testing the possibilities of AT&T Labs’ invention for customers and utility companies. AT&T is focused on delivering a gigabit-per-second speed everywhere we can with our wired and wireless technologies,” Andre Fuetsch, president of AT&T Labs and chief technology officer, said in a press release. “Project AirGig represents a key invention in our 5G Evolution approach.”

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This broadband over power lines technology has already undergone outdoor trials by the company. The recent tests have yielded positive results according to the company and they are moving into the next stage of the testing. These outdoor field trials are also a good way to demonstrate Project AirGig’s support of the smart grid technologies owned by power companies.

AT&T stated that the rigorous trials undertaken would help them to accurately find out the deployment costs while also maintaining the highest signal quality. The patent for this new technology is still pending and its introduction into the market will result in lesser hardware and installation costs while maintaining the high internet speed.

09 Feb

AT&T Extends NetBond Service To Offer Secure IoT Connections

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AT&T NetBond Service

The surge in internet usage is the thing that made IoT happen, offering a common protocol to take place of the separate and specialized networks. However, the public internet may not always be the best path between the cloud and a connected device. Businesses can now connect their mobile IoT devices to the back end systems, making use of the NetBond, which is a private network service that is offered by AT&T, instead of the internet.

NetBond sets up a Virtual Private Network (VPN) from a remote device to the cloud. The service is capable of connecting to sixteen different public clouds, which includes Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services, or any other hybrid cloud. AT&T announced NetBond for IoT in an event that was meant to showcase the benefits of the software defined network of AT&T. About one-third of the infrastructure of AT&T is virtualized now and more than half will be virtualized by the end of the year, says AT&T.

AT&T has combined NetBond with their Control Center IoT services platform, which is an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) platform that helps to manage connected devices. Control Center is based on the IoT provisioning and management technology that is offered by Jasper technologies, which was acquired by Cisco last year. AT&T said that about six hundred customers of AT&T are currently using Control Center.

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IoT Connections

NetBond service from AT&T shields IoT traffic from the common internet threats like the DDoS attacks and offers a portal to control things like latency and bandwidth on links that are made between the remote device and the cloud. NetBond is designed to make IoT connections meet the requirements of different applications in areas like healthcare, manufacturing and city infrastructure.

GlobalData analyst Peter Jarich says that the NetBond offering plays into the various concerns that many businesses have about the IoT. Surveys conducted by GlobalData proves that many of the enterprises hold back from using IoT due to the worries about security and some get even more concerned after using it. NetBond for IoT works well with devices that are on the AT&T network in the US and their partner carrier systems in countries other than US, as NetBond is available across the globe.

08 Feb

AT&T To Acquire FiberTower For Millimeter Wave Spectrum

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AT&T FiberTower Deal

AT&T officials recently announced that the company has decided to acquire FiberTower as well as the millimeter wave spectrum rights owned by the company. The amount related to this purchase by AT&T is still unclear.

FiberTower is a company that provides wireless services to enterprises, government bodies, and carriers alike. FiberTower’s services are mainly used by carriers for backhauling their wireless networks. The acquisition of the FiberTower has numerous benefits for AT&T in its 5G cellular services and the centralized radio access networks. This has been a part of AT&T’s efforts to lay groundwork for its future networking solutions.

It is reported that FiberTower has been actively marketing its wireless solutions to major carriers and has licenses in most areas like Washington D.C., Boston, Baltimore, and Detroit. Its 24 GHz and 39 GHz spectrum can provide more than 200 high capacity links per square kilometer.

AllNet Insights states that FiberTower currently owns about 8.4 billion MHz POPs that is 8.4 billion 39 GHz and 374 MM 24 GHz. The company has previously lost many of its spectrum licenses by the actions of the Federal Communications Commission. The failure in building the required infrastructure to provide the spectrum is the reason attributed to the cancelling of the licenses by the FCC. However, the company has come up with retaining some of its spectrum thereby avoiding the loss of the licenses it holds.

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Once the standard is correctly defined, this millimeter wave spectrum will play a crucial role in AT&T’s 5G network plans. The Swedish telecommunications giant Ericsson and AT&T have already experimented with this spectrum. Their efforts have been largely successful in demonstrating a millimeter wave system capable of providing speeds of 1 gigabit per second.

By acquiring the spectrum, AT&T plans to install its remote radio heads connected to the central baseband units. Fiber is the preferred medium for these wireless links. The installation process for every C-RAN deployment will prove to be more costly and impossible due to many issues pertaining to permitting and zoning.

Reports say that Verizon Communications has also acquired accessibility to the spectrum licenses of 28 GHz and 39 GHz. It had brought these licenses through the purchasing of XO Communications. The carrier for buying the licenses later has secured the necessary rights for leasing XO’s licenses.

06 Feb

AT&T Plans To Deliver DirecTV Now Via 5G

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DirecTV Now Via 5G

In a recent announcement, AT&T revealed their plans to conduct a trial to deliver their latest streaming service, DirecTV Now, in the Austin region via 5G wireless broadband. Reports indicate that the trial will most likely happen in the first half of this year.

The telecom giant also added that they are planning to test “additional next-generation entertainment services of fixed 5G connections.” The officials from AT&T stated that the trial will be held at multiple locations and they will use a number of devices for the assessment. They also added that the trial would focus on how fixed wireless millimeter wave technology can handle the heavy video traffic.

The telecom company has already laid out their 5G strategy for 2017 a few weeks ago. AT&T officials added that they were able to achieve an incredible speed of 14 Gbps in less than 3 milliseconds of latency. They stated that the constant 4G LTE development was an integral part to “laying the foundation” for 5G.

“We’re currently deploying three-way carrier aggregation in select areas, and plan to introduce four-way carrier aggregation as well as LTE-License Assisted Access this year,” the company said on its 5G progress website. Furthermore, the officials from AT&T said that, “These trials are significant because they will be our first trials to use what we expect to be based upon the 5G New Radio specification being developed by the industry technology standards group 3GPP.”

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5G Wireless Broadband

“Industry standards are important to enabling wide-scale 5G commercialization. The trials will test both mobile and fixed wireless solutions operating in mmWave spectrum accelerating commercial deployments in the 28 Ghz and 39 Ghz bands. They will showcase new 5G radio mmWave technologies for increasing network capacity while achieving multi-gigabit data rates,” they added.

AT&T had earlier announced a “multi-dwelling unit fixed wireless point-to-point mmWave trial in Minneapolis.” The focus of this trial was to reach subscribers who are living outside of their 21-state wireline area. The company has also planned on exploring additional markets for trial locations.

A recent report claimed that AT&T delivers 100 percent fiber-carried 1 Gbps to “nearly 4 million locations across 46 metros nationwide” and they are planning to have “at least 12.5 million locations across 67 metro areas with our 100 percent fiber network.”

01 Feb

AT&T Confident To Close Time Warner Deal This Year

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DirecTV Family Package

AT&T Time Warner Merger

AT&T is confident that their proposed 85 million dollar acquisition of Time Warner Inc. will be completed by the end of 2017. CFO John Stephens said to analysts on their earnings call that the deal will be closed by the end of the year, even though the new US President Donald Trump has voiced opposition to this deal.

“We remain confident that the deal will be approved later this year,” Stephens said. However, it is to be noted that the deal is not yet approved by the Department of Justice and President Trump had previously said that he does not agree with the AT&T Time Warner merger plan.

Before the elections, Trump said at a campaign rally that the proposed merger was “a deal we will not approve in my administration because it’s too much concentration of power in the hands of too few.”

On Jan 12, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson met with the then President-elect at the Trump Tower, but reports say that the Time Warner deal was not discussed in the meeting. Stephenson said that Trump “had a very specific agenda” that he needed to cover in the meeting: corporate tax reform and regulatory reform.

“I was impressed,” Stephenson said. “I was meeting with a CEO – it was obvious.” He said he left the Trump confab with a “degree of optimism” that tax reform could actually be pulled off this year. “If we want to get off this 1% to 2% growth plane… we have to have tax reform,” AT&T’s CEO said.

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$85 Million Deal

When asked about Trump’s appointment of the Republican FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, who is a vocal critic of net neutrality regulations, Stephenson said that he believed that the new Chairman would rationalize the current regulations. Pai is not a fan of the Title II regulations on ISPs under the Open Internet Order of FCC, and Stephenson says that Open Internet Order is a rule that is “suppressive to investment” by telecom providers.

The AT&T CEO said that with the new FCC leadership, the Telco would not change their strategy on the zero-rated services that exclude some content like DirecTV Now from the wireless data caps. “We were quite confident that zero-rating was fine under a Pai chairmanship” or any other FCC regime, he said. The zero-rated data offers are “something our customers are loving. That’s a big deal. It’s proving to be very advantageous in the marketplace for our customers.”

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