AT&T plans to add 30 new cell sites in Oklahoma

Oklahoma City_AT&T Inc. said it will add more than 30 new cell sites in Oklahoma this year and will launch its third-generation mobile broadband network in Ada, Ardmore, Enid and Muskogee.

Steve Gray, vice president and general manager for AT&T's mobility and consumer markets in Oklahoma and Arkansas, said Tuesday the expansion builds upon last year's investments in the state, including almost 20 new cell sites and the launch of its 3G network in Shawnee, Lawton and Bartlesville.

"We are constantly evaluating our network and its performance," Gray said. "We have enjoyed a great amount of growth over the past 20 years."

He said the size of the investment is attributable to the size of the telecommunication company's customer base in the state.

"We are determined to continue to keep our market. It's very, very competitive out there," Gray said.

Nationwide, AT&T said it will invest between $17 billion and $18 billion in 2009. The company declined to disclose the size of its investment in Oklahoma but said it invested more than $675 million in its Oklahoma network between 2006 and 2008.

Gray said he expects no increase in consumer costs as a result of the expanded services.

"What we think we have is a great value for the consumer," he said.

Some of the new cell sites will be located across the Oklahoma City and Tulsa areas and in Shawnee. Chickasha, Lawton, Stillwater, Weatherford and several other areas also will receive new cell sites and additional AT&T coverage.

AT&T will also continue expanding its AT&T U-verse services, including AT&T U-verse TV, AT&T U-verse High Speed Internet and AT&T U-verse Voice.

AT&T also has completed the integration of nearly 275 cell sites in Oklahoma that it acquired from Dobson Communications. The former Dobson sites are in Adair, Cherokee, Craig, Delaware, Garfield, Mayes, McIntosh, Muskogee, Nowata, Okmulgee, Ottawa, Pittsburg and Washington counties.

Gray said AT&T's focus in investing in its wireless and wired networks is velocity and mobility.

"We are fast-paced culture, so immediate gratification is the thread running through us," he said.

Gov. Brad Henry said the company's expansion plans will provide Oklahomans with faster and better options for reaching emergency services and business communications.

"Creating a more robust communications infrastructure provides numerous benefits to Oklahoma consumers and is a big plus in terms of bolstering economic development and luring new companies and industry to our state," Henry said.

Tim Talley, AP Writer © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.