Though some cell sites will be taken down as part of the consolidation, the net effect will be more dense coverage, said John Stankey, president and CEO of AT&T Business Solutions, who also has responsibility for networks. For example, AT&T estimates coverage density will increase by between 25% and 35% in both San Francisco and New York.
"Greater density drives better performance and greater capacity to serve the accelerating data demand, and customers will see a difference. Their experience will improve," Stankey said.
At the heart of the deal was the need for greater spectrum to make all this network expansion possible to keep up with booming mobile data volume that has grown by 8,000% over the past four years, according to AT&T.
"It lets us get more spectral capacity in the market sooner than any other industry alternative," Stankey said.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.