How AT&T Is Boosting Its Network Performance

AT&T’s network performance

Network performance is a key factor that affects customer retention. AT&T’s (T) network reach and capabilities are unmatched and could be difficult to replicate. AT&T is focusing on an SDN (software-defined networking) approach to transforming its network. SDN helps telecom companies save on costs and provide flexibility, as it requires them to virtualize their networks instead of spending on dedicated fixed hardware.

AT&T expects SDN penetration to rise to 30% by the end of 2016 and to 75% by 2020. AT&T claims that its network now has 70,000 cell sites—much more than any of its competitors. The company has now expanded its LTE (long-term evolution) reach to Mexico, which means its 4G (fourth-generation) LTE footprint now covers 380 million people in North America.

How AT&T Is Boosting Its Network Performance

RootMetrics 1H16 network performance results

Based on RootMetrics’ 1H16 RootScore report, in the overall network performance category, AT&T managed to score outright wins in two states and tied with Verizon (VZ) and T-Mobile (TMUS) in six states.

At the national level, AT&T came in second place in five out of six categories: overall performance, network reliability, speed, data, and text performance. In terms of call performance, Sprint (S) beat AT&T to second place. AT&T has remained a strong performer behind Verizon for six consecutive test periods. Verizon came in first place across all six network performance categories.

AT&T recorded falls in its won or shared state level awards, from 110 to 82, in 1H16 compared to 2H15. These falls were in the network reliability, call performance, and text performance categories. AT&T’s count of state level awards trailed that of only Verizon, which won or shared 274 awards. AT&T’s count of state level awards won or shared was far higher than those of Sprint or T-Mobile.