AT&T’s 5G network is now live for consumers in 90 additional markets – including Chicago, New Orleans, Sacramento, Seattle and Tampa – for a total of 190 and it now covers more than 120 million people. Nationwide 5G coverage is expected to be achieved this summer; however, the carrier faces workforce and permitting delays caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Capex was nearly $5 billion for the first quarter, Randall Stephenson, bAT&T chairman and CEO, said during the carrier’s first quarter 2020 earnings call, but there will be downward pressure on capex in the second quarter because of the logistical issues.
“It’s not just writing checks for capex,” he said, “It’s people out doing things. And it’s particularly in terms of new cell site acquisition, which we’re doing a lot for FirstNet and enhancing density. These require permitting and government officials. And government officials are sheltered in place. And a lot of the permitting and a lot of the logistics that go into allowing us to invest are a little bit hampered right now.”
More than 1.3 million devices are now connected to the FirstNet network at a pace that has accelerate in the last several weeks, as the pandemic has increased awareness of the product, according to John Stankey, AT&T chief financial officer.
“We’re going great guns on FirstNet,” Stankey said. “If you look at the volumes of what’s occurred in the last couple of weeks in the first responder community and some of the awareness that’s been building, we’re going to get tailwinds from that as well and continued great performance.”