Sprint, AT&T Upgrade, Prepare for Another East Coast Storm

Many of us are dependent on our mobile devices, even to the point of addiction. But these devices would be useless if it weren’t for the network carriers that power our connectivity.  Infrastructure has become an undeniable crutch for modern communication, and there’s no turning back.  So it’s no surprise that network carriers are constantly working to improve that infrastructure, even strengthening their underlying technology to weather the recent storms that have plagued a nation.

Sprint’s new spectrum means more US customers for Softbank

Sprint announced its plans to acquire spectrum and business operations of U.S. Cellular Corp. in parts of five states for about $480 million.  The deal is expected to significantly increase their network capacity, involving some 585,000 U.S. Cellular customers in Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Ohio.  The spectrum acquisition would also help U.S. Cellular focus their efforts on markets where they are strong, and streamline their operations to improve efficiency and effectiveness.

This buy makes the Softbank-Sprint deal even more interesting.  Earlier in October, it was reported that Japan’s Softbank is in the final stages of acquiring Sprint for $12.81 billion to expand their reach in the US.  Softbank is currently Japan’s third largest carrier and a US expansion would solidify their mark in the global scene.  If Sprint expands, then the Softbank acquisition price could go up, but it would also mean that they gain even  more US consumers.

AT&T expands 4G

AT&T plans on investing $14 billion to expand Project Velocity IP, their wireless and wireline IP broadband networks, over the next three years.  The aim is to cater to the increasing demand for high-speed internet.

“This is a major commitment to invest in 21st century communications infrastructure for the United States and bring high-speed Internet connectivity—4G LTE mobile and wireline IP broadband—to millions more Americans,” Chief Executive Randall Stephenson said.

The plan involves expanding their 4G LTE network to 300 million people in the U.S. by the end of 2014.

Verizon

Verizon was badly hit by Hurricane Sandy with their lower Manhattan facilities were flooded, three-and-a-half floors of their five-level basement were submerged in brackish flood water, and their Broad Street facility was left inoperable as water flooded critical electrical equipment.  Though they were badly hit, Verizon still managed to help Superstorm Sandy victims  by providing mobile recharging stations running on generators.

Verizon’s Wireless Emergency Communication Centers (WECCs) also provide free voice calling and Wi-Fi Internet access.  They continue to offer the services to those affected by Sandy and they are already preparing for another potential catastrophe as the National Weather Service warns of another large storm brewing for the Northeast U.S.  Verizon plans on relocating their charging stations to ensure the safety of their employees, consumers and make sure that the charging stations would remain operable even if the storm does hit.

Click here to view the list charging station locations.

Other carriers are also prepping for the storm: AT&T is bolstering their fuel supplies to more than 3,000 generators in the area, shifting equipment and other resources to less vulnerable areas, and coordinating with authorities as well as utilities and other service providers; Sprint say they have the flexibility to handle another storm; and T-Mobile says they’re moving more engineers to the post-Sandy effort from other parts of the U.S. in preparation for the incoming storm.

About Mellisa Tolentino

Mellisa is a staff writer for SiliconAngle, covering social and mobile news. She is fascinated by technology and loves imparting what she learns through her journey as a writer. Got a news story or tip? Send it to mellisa@siliconangle.com