AT&T has acquired some pretty valuable spectrum today from the FCC. How valuable do you ask? 18.2 billion dollars valuable. The licenses for the AWS-3 10×10 spectrum are nearly nationwide.
What does the acquisition of this J-block spectrum mean for customers? Speaking about today, nothing. Updating the infrastructure takes time. In a couple of years, however, this will allow more throughput on the mobile network. Having a “fatter pipe” per se allows for more network traffic and faster speeds for more customers. This is a good thing for AT&T subscribers.
AT&T is expecting to begin putting the new spectrum to use beginning in 2017 - 2018. They need to get on board with the device OEMs, network standards bodies, government agencies and network suppliers to ensure end to end functionality. In the beginning this will be supplemental downlink for users. Full uplink functionality will take a bit longer.