While AT&T is promising that 250 million potential customers will be covered by the 4G technology by the end of the year, the company remains intentionally vague about U-Verse build out goals. AT&T recently announced a significant network expansion for both U-Verse and LTE, though as we noted at the time
the company used some flaky math to make the U-Verse portion of that expansion seem much larger than it actually is.
AT&T insisted they'd be expanding U-Verse's footprint from 24.5 million homes to 33 million, suggesting an additional 8.5 million new users. However, looking closer, an individual might note that AT&T is on the record saying they had some time ago already reached 30 million homes.
That means AT&T's U-Verse expansion will be closer to 3 million -- and most of those users are in markets AT&T was already planning to expand. Like San Francisco, for example, where AT&T was sidetracked
due to a battle with locals over street cabinet placement. San Francisco and Indianapolis will be where the majority of that 3 million expansion occurs.
So in other words what AT&T is claiming to be a U-Verse "expansion" is really just AT&T finishing up long-ago planned for U-Verse builds that had just been held up for one reason or another. It was rather amusing trying to watch AT&T wiggle around this fact when pressed for hard numbers on the U-Verse expansion during last week's earning's call:
Questioned by analysts, the CEO was a bit more opaque on the timing for U-Verse build-outs. AT&T has previously said that its wired IP broadband network will expand to 75 percent of residential customer locations in its 22-state wireline service area by the end of 2015. "You can think about it as a kind of radical build schedule going forward," offered Stephenson, while not actually disclosing any targets.
And of course by "radical," AT&T actually means not radical or remarkable in any way. AT&T, like Verizon
, is going to let tens of millions of un-upgraded DSL users either sign up for more expensive LTE, or just leave to cable. There's little to no interest in upgrading huge swaths of their networks in the United States, which will result in a hugely powerful fixed line cable broadband monopoly. Both telcos keep downplaying this fact in the hopes nobody is going to notice, and judging from press coverage so far -- they're succeeding.