AT&T says FirstNet unit grew 60% to $1.7 billion in 2021

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FirstNet has been an “undisputed success” for AT&T, growing 60% in 2021 to generate $1.7 billion in revenue for the carrier giant which has been contracted to build and maintain the national broadband network public safety (NPSBN), according to an AT&T official.

Rasesh Patel, chief product and platform officer for AT&T Business, also updated coverage stats for FirstNet users during a presentation at AT&T’s Analyst and Investor Day virtual event yesterday. .

“Reaching over 2.9 million square miles across the country with [700 MHz ] Band 14 and AT&T LTE bands, FirstNet covers more first responders than any commercial network in the country,” Patel said. “FirstNet has quickly grown into a $1.7 billion company, growing 60% year-over-year in 2021.”

That FirstNet coverage figure of over 2.9 million square miles is about 100,000 square miles more than the 2.81 million square miles quoted by AT&T — based on third-party data, the company says — there’s less of three weeks. At that time, AT&T claimed that the 2.81 million square mile coverage area was 50,000 square miles larger than the wireless footprint provided by any other commercial carrier in the United States.

Patel also noted the growing set of solutions offered by FirstNet, “including connected body cameras, fleet, surveillance and interoperable push-to-talk communication with over 7 million public safety radio users.

Jenifer Robertson, executive vice president and general manager of AT&T Mobility, reiterated FirstNet’s adoption numbers released in January — more than 3 million logins for 19,500 public safety agencies — while saying “we don’t what to start” in the first responder sector.

“We have expanded the market and will continue to do so with additional new connections like body cameras, connected cruisers, school buses, biometrics and two-way radio devices,” Robertson said at the virtual AT&T event. “FirstNet was a deliberate goal for us, a goal in which we committed to gaining asymmetric market share, and we delivered on that promise. It has generated strong growth and given us a playbook that we can continue to execute for other customer segments. »

Indeed, Patel said FirstNet’s growth has played a key role in the overall strength of AT&T’s mobile wireless business. Not only has FirstNet’s customer base bolstered AT&T’s small business market share as a stand-alone company, but the network build obligations under the 25-year contract with the FirstNet Authority, combined with deployment of AT&T fiber, help the operator to conclude new agreements. in other sectors.

“In 2021, AT&T won 53% share of postpaid voice streams [among U.S. carriers], the most cost-effective business mobility service,” Patel said. “This was driven by the momentum of small business and the undisputed success of FirstNet. In fact, over the past 18 months, our small business wireless market share has improved from around 30% to 40%.

“As we expand the footprint and distribution of fiber for mid-market businesses, we see a similar opportunity to grow market share, which is currently in the low 20s today. We are also the leader of IoT connectivity, which is now a $1.3 billion business and growing 18% year-over-year.

AT&T provided no update today on its progress building the FirstNet system on Band 14 spectrum, the key requirement of the carrier’s 25-year agreement with the FirstNet Authority. In October, AT&T announced that it had completed more than 95% of the contracted Band 14 deployment for the FirstNet system, surpassing the milestone approximately 6 months ahead of schedule.

Under the agreement with the FirstNet Authority, AT&T is expected to complete initial construction of FirstNet in March 2023, five years after the first network construction task order was issued in March 2018. AT&T officials verbally expressed confidence that the company will adhere to this schedule. . A recent SEC filing indicates that AT&T plans to complete construction of the network this calendar year, so that it can receive final payment for the $6.5 billion it could earn by building the NPSBN in the deadlines.

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