AT&T envisions drone-based LTE coverage

UAVs could provide LTE service in disaster areas.

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Mariella Moon
July 15, 2016 1:22 PM
In this article: att, drones, gear, internet, lte
AT&T envisions drone-based LTE coverage
AT&T has big dreams for its new national drone program, including the use of UAVs to provide LTE coverage in crowded or remote locations. In a blog post by company Chief Strategy Officer John Donovan, he said AT&T is expecting many "different drone uses in the future." The carrier envisions using tethered drones for big events like music festivals, since a huge gathering of people tend to congest networks. However, these "Flying Cell on Wings," as Donovan called them, could also be deployed to disaster areas in order to provide survivors the connection they need to contact family and friends as soon as possible.

Donovan admits that drone-based LTE network isn't quite a reality yet, but the company has begun working towards that goal. Ma Bell has launched its national drone program's trial phase in San Francisco, where it demoed how it uses UAVs to inspect its cell towers. In addition to finding out how it can use drones to provide mobile internet, AT&T is also researching how they can tap into its LTE network to send and receive large amounts of data for commercial purposes. It will mostly likely take some time before you see signal-boosting flying machines at Coachella, though, so you'll probably still have to deal with failed Instagram uploads next year

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