AT&T has announced that it is currently experimenting with drones in order to make its network better. The carrier is currently using them for cell tower inspections and to gather real-time information, and in the future it may use them as flying towers for additional coverage. By being connected to its network, AT&T can use the drones to gather information and make immediate changes based on the needs that are being shown.
From the announcement:
Connecting drones to our nationwide LTE network lets us capture data and feed it directly to our systems. In turn, this can allow us to make changes to our network in real time.
By using drones to inspect a cell site, we're able to conduct inspections more quickly and safely – and even access parts of a tower that a human simply could not. We anticipate this will allow us to improve our customers' experience by enhancing our cell sites faster than ever before.
It is worth noting that drones don't offer great battery life currently, so fly time is rather limited. Also, odds are that people are not going to take well to a drone flying over their head at a concert, even if it means they can send that Snapchat or Instagram a little faster with the additional coverage. Either way, it will be interesting to see if AT&T can do anything of use with these drones in the future.