Given recent news, more people are learning about the planned combination of AT&T and T-Mobile USA. This transaction will benefit the citizens and businesses of Wisconsin.
We all know today's consumers are rapidly migrating from traditional wired phones to wireless devices that allow us to do more than just talk. They enable us to work, pay our bills and use many applications – all on the go, anywhere wireless coverage reaches. We've seen this growth firsthand. Data usage on our network grew by more than 8,000% from 2007 to 2010, and we know this growth will continue. In the first several weeks of 2015, we estimate we'll carry the same amount of mobile data traffic we carried in all of 2010.
The combining of AT&T and T-Mobile is the fastest way to meet this increasing demand. Both companies have compatible technologies, complementary spectrum assets, and well-matched cell site locations. This combination will truly be "1 + 1 = 3," as network efficiency and capacity are increased. That means better coverage, fewer dropped and blocked calls, stronger in-building connections, and faster data downloads.
It also means AT&T will be able to expand deployment of 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE), the premier next generation advanced mobile broadband technology, to many more Americans than without the transaction. Over 97 percent of Americans, or 55 million more people, would be covered by AT&T's 4G LTE network, including 1.75 million Wisconsin residents. These incredible numbers align with the National Broadband Plan's goal to make broadband available to all Americans by 2015.
This expanded deployment will allow more businesses to connect to the global marketplace and provide more Wisconsinites with the opportunities LTE brings. It will also substantially contribute to the nation's economy. A recent study estimates the $8 billion infrastructure investment AT&T will make as a result of the transaction will result in an additional 55,000 to 96,000 direct and indirect jobs.
This transaction is good for Wisconsin, businesses, and customers of both companies. It will improve existing service, dramatically expand 4G LTE technology across Wisconsin, and provide new means for economic growth for our state's businesses.
Scott VanderSanden is president of AT&T Wisconsin.