AT&T CTO John Donovan said last week in an interview with USA Today that the telco is interested in using WiMAX to extend broadband coverage in rural markets where it would be more expensive to deploy wireline broadband. It may not seem like huge news, given that AT&T has run WiMAX pilots in the past, and always has maintained an interest in the technology.
Also, AT&T gained several 2.3 Ghz licenses in Southern U.S. markets through its acquisition of BellSouth. BellSouth had aggressively commercialized on broadband wireless in those markets and had been an active supporter of WiMAX Forum certification for the 2.3 Ghz frequency. AT&T also would have 700 Mhz spectrum at its disposal for a broader WiMAX rollout.
AT&T's interest means there is another major U.S. carrier besides the new Sprint-led Clearwire joint venture that could be ready to exploit the technology. AT&T actually has been looking to block that venture, urging the Federal Communications Commission to closely scrutinize the spectrum assets involved in the deal.