AT&T to invest $14 bn in US networks

AT&T on Wednesday announced a $14 billion plan over three years to upgrade its networks, much of it to boost wireless high-speed Internet in the United States.

The telecom giant said around $8 billion will help boost capacities for so-called 4G or fourth generation wireless networks, using Long-Term Evolution LTE technology, which delivers fast Internet connections for mobile devices.

Another $6 billion will go to wireline services including fiber-optic lines which deliver Internet and other services.

"This is a major commitment to invest in 21st century communications infrastructure for the United States and bring high-speed Internet connectivity -- 4G LTE mobile and wireline IP broadband -- to millions more Americans," said Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and chief executive.

"We have the opportunity to improve AT&T's revenue growth and cost structure for years to come, and create substantial value for shareowners."

The company plans to expand its 4G LTE network to cover 300 million people in the United States by the end of 2014, serving some 99 percent of its customers.

AT&T said it would also be moving to get more spectrum to ease the crunch on wireless data from a surge in the number of mobile devices like smartphones.

The U-verse service offered by AT&T which includes TV, Internet and voice will be expanded to cover as many as 33 million customers by 2015.

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