February 18, 2010 / 4:49 PM / 8 years ago

AT&T plans 3 test labs for high-speed services

NEW YORK (Reuters) - AT&T Inc said on Thursday it would open three development facilities to test network equipment and mobile devices for its next generation of high-speed wireless services.

The announcement follows the opening of a similar facility a year ago by bigger rival Verizon Wireless, a venture of Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group Plc.

Both companies are aiming to boost their wireless Web access speeds by building new networks based on a technology known as Long Term Evolution (LTE).

But AT&T is waiting until next year to offer LTE service, while Verizon Wireless has said it plans to offer it in up to 30 markets this year.

AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel said the company was setting up two of the development centers in the United States and another outside the country to be closer to technology developers.

He said that the company was not ready to announce the location of any of the facilities, or how many people or how much money would be involved in the project.

AT&T said last week that Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson would supply network equipment for its LTE service.

It has also committed to increase spending on its wireless network by $2 billion this year as part of its capital spending budget of $18 billion to $19 billion.

AT&T shares were down 14 cents at $25.26 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Reporting by Sinead Carew; Editing by Derek Caney

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