80% of AT&T backhaul traffic now on Ethernet facilities

Posted by GenD on Friday, January 27, 2012 with No comments
There’s an interesting tidbit in AT&T’s most-recent quarterly earnings report. CEO Randall Stephenson pointed out that AT&T now has “80 percent of our total mobile data traffic on Ethernet backhaul.”
That doesn’t mean 80 percent of the sites have been upgraded, but more than the sites representing 80 percent of the traffic have been upgraded to Ethernet facilities. What isn’t so clear is what has happened to backhaul as a percentage of operating costs.

In the past, backhaul has represented as much as 30 percent of total operating costs for some operators, in some cases perhaps even more.
AT&T has advantages greater than most other mobile service providers, in that it has the biggest fixed network physical footprint of any mobile service provider in the U.S. market, meaning AT&T has the ability to use its own facilities for backhaul, rather than leasing Ethernet connections from other providers.