AT&T Incorporating Drones to Deliver Enhanced Cell Service

AT&T screen shotAccording to a recent AT&T blog post by Chief Strategy Officer John Dunn, AT&T is looking at ways to deliver enhanced LTE wireless coverage using drones.

Such implementation can provide wireless bandwidth at large, crowded venues where users are sending a large number of videos and photos simultaneously. Mr. Donovan writes that, “While this isn’t a reality yet, we expect many different drone uses in the future. That’s why for the past year we’ve been exploring and testing different ways drones can benefit our customers.”

He wrote that this past week Art Pregler, of AT&T’s national drone program, is driving innovation, and focuses on how AT&T customers can benefit from drone-based solutions.

His team has demonstrated using drones to perform aerial inspections of AT&T cell towers (see video below), and this week at their SHAPE Conference in San Francisco, we’ll demonstrate that capability live.

“Connecting drones to our nationwide LTE network lets us capture data and feed it directly to our systems. In turn, this can allow us to make changes to our network in real time,” Donovan notes.

He cites other additional uses of drones. These include:

  • Flying COWs (Cell on Wings) providing LTE coverage at large events or even rapid disaster response. A Flying COW may even be able to provide coverage when a vehicle is unable to drive to a designated area.
  • Researching how in-flight drones can use our LTE network to send large amounts of data in real-time. This capability may benefit areas such as insurance, farming, facility and asset inspections, and even delivery service companies.

He concludes, “We’re moving toward the future by pushing the envelope on what’s technologically possible for drones. Look for more news from us at SHAPE, including a first-hand look at how drones are taking our network to new heights.”

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