Report: AT&T Must Spend $5 Billion to Catch Up

There no secret that there's been an image feud going on between AT&T and Verizon. But underneath all those ads is research that shows AT&T competitors Verizon and Sprint spending more on capital investments.

As IDG reported, TownHall Investment Research found that from 2006 through September 2009, AT&T's capital expenditures on its wireless network totaled about $21.6 billion, compared with $25.4 billion for Verizon and $16 billion for Sprint.

Breaking that down to a per customer basis, that means that Verizon spent $353 per user, compared with $308 for AT&T, and $310 for Sprint for network capital expenditure.

The research investment firm thinks that AT&T's current $5 billion lag could grow to $7 billion "because of the need for new backhaul capacity to link AT&T's wireless network into the wired Internet."

While there's always a different in dollar-for-dollar value in capital expenditures, this finding by TownHall could help explain why some AT&T users are less than satisfied when compared to their counterparts on other networks.