AT&T has abandoned its HSPA+ (high speed packet access) plans in favor of a migration to 4G LTE, a move that isn’t at all surprising, given Verizon’s commitment to LTE and the extreme competition between the two companies. Sprint promoting 4G (via WiMAX) would have left AT&T at risk of being the only 3G provider of note in the U.S.
The big issue, we think, is likely the stress that the iPhone success places on AT&T’s cellular network. The move to 4G will have major repercussions in the infrastructure space because it will likely divert even more capex to the wireless side and to cell towers and RF modernization. It will also make evolved packet core a very hot metro issue, hot enough to change procurement plans for some operators.
Another impact of the decision will be to make the whole procurement zone purchase strategy of operators more important because wireless is likely to be its own zone and drive other product decisions, including FMC and VoIP.