AT&T to boost spending to $22 billion for next three years


AT&T Inc said on Wednesday it would increase its capital spending to $22 billion a year for the next three years from its 2012 budget of $19 billion to $20 billion as it looks to expand its wireless and wireline networks.

Its network expansion plans involve a budget of $8 billion for expanding its wireless network and $6 billion for upgrading its wireline network, the company said.

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Under the plan, AT&T said it would upgrade its wireline network with fiber to reach another 1 million business customers.

The upgrade plans also include an extension of AT&T's high-speed wireless network based on Long Term Evolution (LTE) to cover 300 million people by the end of 2014. Its previous plan called for coverage of 250 million people by the end of 2013.

The company forecast earnings per share growth in the mid-single digit percentage range for the next three years and raised its quarterly dividend to 45 cents per share from 44 cents. (Reporting By Sinead Carew; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick)