By TEDDYE SNELL
Local AT&T cell phone users may have noticed a new icon appearing on the top of the screens, along with faster connectivity.
On Thursday, company officials were in town to announce AT&T’s 4G LTE expansion in this area. Tahlequah is one of several new markets to receive the service this month.
“I’d like to set the tone by giving you a brief snapshot of the mobile world,” said AT&T Area Manager Craig Cromley. “Right now, there are 1.9 billion ‘things,’ meaning anything other than a smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer, plugged in to the Internet. By 2018, we will have nine billion ‘things’ plugged in. Combine that with the nine billion computers, smartphones, laptops and tablets, and those are some amazing numbers. Those numbers are expected to reach 25 billion by 2018 and 50 billion by 2020. Everything will be mobilized, and we can’t do that without providing the infrastructure to get us there. That’s what 4G LTE network will do.”
Cromley said that today, area residents have the fastest broadband service available.
“But we are not done,” said Cromley. “With our partnership with Northeastern State University and the city of Tahlequah, we hope to announce even more exciting developments in the near future.”
From 2007 to 2012, AT&T invested more than $116 billion into its wireless and wireline networks across the country. According to company officials, since 2007, AT&T has invest more capital into the U.S. economy than any other public company.
Oklahoma AT&T President Brian Gonterman said AT&T intends to make Oklahoma a place business want to invest.
“We’re everywhere,” said Gonterman. “We’re going to impact students’ lives, and interact with everything from the way health care is delivered to business to home life. The smartphone is becoming the remote control for our lives. Phones today have more processing capacity than the first lunar lander. We’ve spent $100 billion in expansion. Over the next six years, technology will dramatically change all interactions. Everything will be connected: homes, cars, our lives.”
Tahlequah Mayor Jason Nichols is well-versed in information technology, and applauded the expansion.
“As consumers become more dependent on technology in their daily lives, the need for a faster, better network becomes more and more vital,” said Nichols. “AT&T 4G LTE network will help keep Oklahomans better connected.”
Other local dignitaries were also enthusiastic.
“It is great to receive AT&T’s investment here in Tahlequah,” said Rep. Mike Brown, D-Tahlequah. “I know our citizens are already enjoying the benefits of this upgrade, and will continue to do so for years to come.”
AT&T’s 4G LTE deployment is part of Project Velocity IP, a three-year investment plan announced in fall 2012, to expand and enhance its Internet protocol broadband networks.
Through this investment, AT&T is supporting its customers’ needs for high-speed Internet access and new mobile, app and cloud-based services.