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AT&T Invests in Kentucky to Improve 4G Network Setup
Kentucky Ag Connection - 01/17/2020

AT&T Inc. reported that it has invested more than $800 million in its Kentucky wireless and wired networks over the last three years to reinforce its market dominance. With these planned investments, the telecom giant aims to enhance reliability, coverage, speed and overall performance for consumers and business houses.

In order to develop 4G LTE network, the telecom juggernaut has established approximately 200 cell sites, which includes 110 small cells and 89 macro cell towers. Kentucky is broadly covered by both 3G and 4G LTE technology, which provides last-mile seamless network connection to more than 400 million people in North America. According to a global leader in Internet testing and analysis, Ookla, AT&T's 4G LTE network provides Internet connection with download speeds of up to 25 Mbps, thereby boosting wider coverage with an agile network infrastructure in more than 57 Kentucky districts.

With this expansion endeavor, the wireless carrier has improved critical services that support public safety and first responders using the FirstNet communications platform. Markedly, this platform involves a public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority -- an independent agency within the federal government. AT&T has also helped meet customers' needs mostly in rural areas by participating in the FCC's Connect America Fund. By the end of 2020, AT&T is expected to deploy, maintain and offer voice services and Internet access to more than 1.1 million rural homes and small business locations in FCC-identified areas.

Over the past five years, AT&T has invested around $145 billion in wireless and wireline networks, including capital investments and acquisitions of wireless spectrum and operations. Its fiber network is one of the nation's largest and connects more IoT devices compared to any other provider in North America.

For the three-year period of 2020-2022, AT&T expects consolidated revenue growth of 1-2% per year. Adjusted earnings are expected between $4.50 and $4.80 per share by 2022, with adjusted EBITDA margin of 35%. Free cash flow is anticipated between $30 billion and $32 billion in 2022, with net debt-to-adjusted EBITDA of 2x to 2.3x as 100% debt related to the acquisition of Time Warner assets is likely to be repaid.

Moving forward, AT&T anticipates gaining an advantage over rivals through edge computing services that allow businesses to route application-specific traffic to where they need it and where it's most effective -- in the cloud, the network or on their premises. The company is focused on building networks that will enable fiber-based connectivity and LTE to work efficiently side by side with 5G solutions, making the most of business transformation. AT&T's wireless network covers more than 99% of Americans and is reportedly the fastest in the nation. Sustainable subscriber growth, backed by network expansion, remains a key driver.

Driven by solid execution of operational strategies, the stock has gained 24.5% compared with the industry's growth of 10.5% in the past year. The company topped earnings estimates thrice in the trailing four quarters, delivering a beat of 0.9%, on average.

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