AT&T today announced plans to invest $120 million in a new data center in Ohio that will expand the company's 3G network capacity and support the launch of 4G/LTE services for the iPhone and other wireless devices using AT&T's network.
The new facility in Akron will handle text messages and data services for AT&T wireless customers in Ohio and the East Coast. That includes New York City, where many iPhone users have complained about the rate of dropped calls. This region was previously supported by a data center in Schaumberg, Illinois.
The Akron facility will be AT&T's ninth data center dedicated to its wireless business, including four which support 3G or 4G services. The $120 million investment will cover the buildout of the first phase of the facility, with about $20 million dedicated to facility improvements and the remainder for technology. AT&T may expand further at the facility as additional capacity is needed.
AT&T Ohio director of public affairs Sarah Briggs told Crain's that the increased use of smartphones such as the iPhone, for which AT&T provides data and phone services, has increased demand for "mobility centers" like the new Akron facility. She said the added capacity will be particularly important as AT&T rolls out its faster 4G service.
Growing use of wireless service,s particularly for the iPhone, have taxed the company's network in some major cities. AT&T just added more capacity and cell sites in New York, which along with San Francisco has been its most challenging service area.