AT&T CEO John Stankey (pictured) forecast a banner year for infrastructure investment in 2022 and told investors he expects the operator to complete planned asset sales despite protestations by some US politicians.

During the UBS Global TMT Virtual Conference, Stankey predicted the wireless industry will invest heavily in infrastructure in 2022 due to the availability of C-Band spectrum and new air interfaces.

“This is going to be a phenomenal year in terms of re-investment back into infrastructure in the US on behalf of the industry in total”, Stankey projected.

He added AT&T plans to increase investment, noting opportunities in building “more robust wireless networks” in rural areas to take advantage of government broadband subsidies.

AT&T estimated 2021 capex at $17 billion: it previously stated the figure will rise to $24 billion after it completes a sale of WarnerMedia to Discovery.

Stankey believes the combination will proceed according to plan, despite a recent call by politicians for close scrutiny.

The AT&T chief noted a recent move by Amazon Web Services (AWS) to provide private 5G services to enterprises sounded like an appropriate solution for business customers which do not need to support mobile devices beyond their own sites, adding the service could likely outperform Wi-Fi.

“In that regard, they’re solving a market problem”, Stankey said. “I don’t think we have a scaled enough and simple enough offer in that space right now”.

Stankey noted AT&T has focused on “more complex environments”, but admitted “there’s a lot of great opportunity in enterprise right now, especially in healthcare, especially in manufacturing”.

The CEO said AT&T may “equip the network to…move down market and offer more economical solutions”, but was presently focused on serving the “upper end of the market”.