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AT&T Invests in Networks Across Wisconsin to Expand Reach

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AT&T Inc. (T - Free Report) recently announced that it has invested more than $700 million in its Wisconsin wireless and wired networks during 2016-2018, which includes about $275 million in the greater Milwaukee location, to fortify its market dominance.

Over the past five years, AT&T has invested nearly $145 billion in wireless and wireline networks, including capital investments and acquisition of wireless spectrum and operations. Its fiber network is one of the nation’s largest and connects more Internet of Things devices compared to any other provider in North America.

The telecom behemoth’s investments are aimed at enhancing coverage, speed and performance for residents and businesses. It has also improved critical services that support Public Safety and first responders using the FirstNet communications platform.

The company’s wireless network covers more than 99% of Americans and is reportedly the fastest in the nation. Its LTE network covers more than 400 million people in North America. Markedly, in 2018, AT&T made 590 network upgrades in Wisconsin, including 41 new cell sites, expanding LTE to 14 sites and adding capacity to 509 sites.

In the Madison and Milwaukee regions, the company markets its Internet service powered by AT&T Fiber to around 180,000 customer locations. AT&T aims to reach at least 14 million locations across 85 metro regions by the middle of 2019 for consumers.

This apart, AT&T intends to deploy a standards-based, nationwide mobile 5G network in early 2020. The company’s 5G service involves utilization of millimeter wave spectrum for deployment in dense pockets, while in suburban and rural areas, it intends to deploy 5G on mid- and low-band spectrum holdings.

Along with its technology partners, AT&T has made the world's first wireless 5G data transfer over millimeter wave using production equipment with a mobile form factor device. Further, the company’s 5G Evolution technology is currently live in more than 200 markets and is expected to reach more than 400 markets by the end of 2019.

AT&T has long-term EPS growth expectation of 5.9%. Driven by diligent execution of operational objectives, the stock has recorded a return of 13.1% compared with the industry’s rise of 8.5% in the year-to-date period.

The company expects to continue its growth momentum in 2019 as it is well positioned to benefit from the impending 5G technology and extended LTE coverage, while aiming to trim its debt. As of Mar 31, 2019, it had $6,516 million in cash and equivalents with $163,942 million of long-term debt. It is committed to managing its debt portfolio and is on track to achieve its target of 2.5x debt-to-EBITDA range by 2019 end.

AT&T currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). A few better-ranked stocks in the broader industry are T-Mobile US, Inc. (TMUS - Free Report) , Ubiquiti Networks, Inc. and Juniper Networks, Inc. (JNPR - Free Report) , each carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

T-Mobile has long-term earnings growth expectation of 15.1%.

Ubiquiti has long-term earnings growth expectation of 19.8%.

Juniper has long-term earnings growth expectation of 6.2%.

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