The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

November 12, 2012

State AT&T chief: Investment coming

ENID, Okla. — Advancements in technology will result in more investment in Oklahoma by AT&T, said Bryan Gonterman, president of AT&T Oklahoma.

He made the remarks Monday to Enid Rotary Club and concentrated on technological changes in the past decade and what could come in the future. He also discussed some of the consumer products that will come from technological advances, and demonstrated how rapidly new products have come along.

He said AT&T is no longer just a phone company, but is involved in innovation and technology.

The number of residential telephone lines in Oklahoma declined from 900,000 in 2003 to just more than 300,000 in 2012, Gonterman said. Revenue streams also have changed. In 2001, he said, more than 60 percent of AT&T’s revenue came from wireline service, with 18 percent wireline data and 16 percent wireless. By 2011, those figures showed wireless at 50 percent and wireline at 24 percent to 26 percent.

“Eight trillion text messages were sent in 2011. That’s over 15 million a minute,” Gonterman said. That figure is up 16 percent from 2010.

“Worldwide, more people have a mobile phone than running water or electricity,” he said.

Gonterman said for every dollar invested in wireless, the GDP can be increase $7-$10. Introduction of the iPhone in 2007 spawned a new area of data consumption, he said. Smartphones like the iPhone use 24 times as much spectrum as a standard cellphone.

AT&T has more smartphones on its network than any other carrier, Gonterman said.

Demand is growing so rapidly, he said, that AT&T expects volume to grow by eight times to 10 times its current size during the next five years. To keep up with rapidly changing technology and demand, AT&T invested more than $700 million in the Oklahoma wireless and wireline networks from 2009 to 2011.

In 2011, he said, the company made more than 850 network upgrades, activated 49 new cell sites and deployed faster fiber-optic connections to nearly 450 cell sites.

Looking into the future, Gonterman said AT&T has a vision to encourage health and wellness through wireless connectivity. He said one system will accelerate delivery of new wireless and advanced networking services to help the health care industry improve patient care and reduce costs nationwide.

Another product would place a timer on prescription medicines, he said. If the medicine is not taken on time, it would notify the prescription owner. If that person does not respond, the new product would notify health care professionals that the prescription had not been taken.

Answering questions from the audience, Gonterman said cyber threats are serious, and there are daily attacks on cybersecurity systems from countries that do not like the United States.

He said AT&T has sponsored “hackathons” that help software developers create new security and privacy software.

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