Hey, remember that 700MHz spectrum that AT&T acquired from Qualcomm way back in 2011? It looks like Ol' Blue has figured out exactly what it wants to do with those airwaves.
Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson revealed that his carrier plans to utilize its 700MHz spectrum for an LTE Broadcast solution meant to remove video from its wireless network, clearing those airwaves up for other data. LTE Broadcast can beam the same content to a number of subscribers at once, making better use of the spectrum rather than sending the same content to multiple users individually.
Stephenson explained that AT&T plans to focus on building networks for delivering video to users, and this new LTE Broadcast service sounds like it plays directly into that plan. The exec didn't say when this LTE Broadcast solution will actually be rolled out, saying only that we'll "see it mature in scale within the three-year time horizon." However, FierceWireless dug up an FCC filing in which AT&T says that it's unable to deploy LTE over the 700MHz Qualcomm spectrum until mid to late 2014 due to interoperability testing for LTE Advanced carrier aggregation.
There's no question that video is becoming bigger and bigger with mobile subscribers. Not only do faster data networks enable the viewing of higher-quality video, but more and more people are turning to the web to keep themselves entertained with live content like sports and news events. AT&T isn't the only carrier to recognize this, as Verizon has said that it plans to roll out LTE Broadcast in early 2014, using the Super Bowl to put the service to the test. How often do you watch video on your smartphone or tablet?