NEW YORK (AP) – AT&T Inc. said Tuesday it will add nearly 3,000 jobs this year and invest between $17 billion and $18 billion to drive growth by enhancing wireless and broadband networks to provide more coverage.
The capital spending plans are in line with the $17.7 billion Dallas-based AT&T said it spent in 2007, but still below the $19.7 billion it spent in 2008.
AT&T said it will add jobs in 2009 to meet continued demand for broadband services, but will still cut jobs in other areas, as previously announced, because of a tough economy and a shift toward wireless and broadband.
In December, AT&T said it will cut 12,000 jobs, or about 4 percent of its work force. The job cuts began in December and will continue throughout 2009.
"Demand for broadband continues to grow as new applications emerge and customers embrace them, leading to data traffic on our network growing more than 50 percent year-over-year on average," said Chief Executive Randall Stephenson.
AT&T said it will expand its third-generation, or 3G, mobile broadband service to 20 new markets this year. The company also said it plans to expand in Oklahoma by adding at least 30 new cell sites in the state this year, in Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Shawnee, among other cities.
Meanwhile, AT&T will spend up to $565 million to add more than 15,000 alternative-fuel vehicles to its fleet over the next 10 years.
The telecommunications company said it will spend an estimated $350 million to purchase about 8,000 compressed natural gas-powered vehicles. It will also spend $215 million to begin replacing its existing passenger cars with alternative-fuel models, including hybrid cars and eventually cars powered by other fuel sources.
The company said the vehicle chassis for the cars that will run on natural gas will be built by a U.S. automaker. It said it will work with domestic suppliers to convert the vehicles to run on natural gas.
Last June, AT&T deployed 105 alternative-fuel vehicles in more than 30 U.S. cities. That venture followed a pilot program involving four Ford Escape hybrids in 2007 in California.
Shares of AT&T gained 33 cents to $33.35 in morning trading.