AT&T said it is continuing to migrate its customer base as it moves forward with plans to shut down its 2G network by the end of this year.
According to CFO John Stevens, AT&T has already transitioned some six million customers in the last 12 months off the 2G base and is poised to decommission the legacy network by the end of 2016.
Though Stevens said AT&T expects most of the remaining base to make transition, he said the carrier expects to “continue to see manageable pressure in the last half of the year from subscribers, mostly connected devices, choosing not to make this migration.” While the change may impact revenues slightly, Stevens said AT&T is expecting to reap both cost and spectrum benefits from the move.
“There still is a lot of cost that is left just to operate even a piece of the 2G network,” Stevens said. “So we are anxious to capture that savings and use it to continue a strong EBITDA story for our wireless business.”
Stevens said AT&T is planning to refarm the spectrum from the decommissioned 2G network to help meet ever increasing data demands.
According to Stevens, the carrier has already repurposed some of the 2G network spectrum in areas where 2G device traffic has dropped off. This incremental approach, he said, means some markets will only have small chunks of spectrum left that need to be repurposed.
But AT&T isn’t the first U.S. carrier to refarm its 2G spectrum.
In early 2014, T-Mobile announced plans to upgrade its 2G/EDGE GSM network and deploy LTE on that 1.9 GHz spectrum. The project was completed last year.
According to recent report from OpenSignal, the switch has helped T-Mobile make substantial speed gains.
Verizon has also confirmed plans to shutter its 2G and 3G networks by 2021 to deploy LTE services on that spectrum.
Filed Under: Telecommunications (Spectrum)