ATT Wireless is one of the four major US networks, providing nationwide wireline and wireless service. With wireless segment annual revenues of $69 Billion in 2013, and over 110 million wireless subscribers, it is a major industry player.
AT&T have been enthusiastic proponents for small cells from their inception, actively launching large scale residential femtocells and investing in a major program of 40,000 enterprise and urban deployments as part of Project VIP. They are regular participants in industry conferences, webinars and panel sessions - even creating TV adverts that highlight their adoption of the technology.
AT&T use the brand name 3G Microcell for their residential femtocell service, which was launched in October 2009 and available nationwide in June 2010. The end to end solution was developed and integrated by Cisco, based on ip.access technology and Cisco's small cell gateway. It is believed to have scaled beyond 1 million actively deployed units nationwide. Customers do need to have a cellular phone contract with ATT, but don't have to have ATT DSL broadband - for example the product will work via cable broadband. A product information and maintenance page can be found on the ATT website here.
Several reviews of the product can be found below:
- MSNBC Flawless but costly
- Gizmodo: The first call I made from my house in 2 years
- MacObserver: The Amazing New ATT 3G Microcell - In Depth Review
Enterprise and Urban small cell deployments
AT&T have made heavy investments in DAS (Distributed Antenna Systems), typically spending many $100's millions annually. Most of these installation are shared with other networks, helping to defray cost. They announced in 2013 a major investment in both DAS and Small Cells to densify the network, specifically quoting 10,000 new macrocells, 1,000 new DAS and 40,000 new small cells within the following three year period, as part of their Project VIP (Velocity IP) expansion.
David Orloff, AT&T's director of Small Cell platforms, presented their experience from several suburban small cell deployment use cases at Small Cells World Summit 2014. These appear to use Alcatel-Lucent urban small cell products.
Bill Hogg, SVP Network Planning and Engineering, explained in December 2013 how they have adapted their network planning and deployment practices to cope with large numbers of small cell deployments. We've summarised his speech here.