AT&T® recently said that in this year’s third quarter (Q3), it added over two million connected cars to the company network. Further, AT&T’s President of IoT Solutions, Chris Penrose said that it passed 1 million subscribers in Canada and the US “for our retail Wi-Fi data plans for vehicles across our portfolio of global brands.” He said, “Since the introduction of our connected car unlimited plans in 2017, our subscribers have used more than 45 million gigabytes of data. That’s enough for more than 100 million hours of streaming video.”
His lengthy blog on the connected car business of the best internet provider helps to highlight the significant investment it has made in this segment. For many years, the carrier has been diligently working to develop connected car services and products and, more significantly, to get agreements with several automotive companies.
A number of them install AT&T’s LTE modems into their cars, thereby providing subscribers with an option to pay monthly cost to create a bubble of wireless connectivity with the LTE network of the carrier for backhaul.
For people who do not have an AT&T® modem equipped in their car, the carrier recently launched Harman Spark, a dongle that plugs into their vehicle’s on-board diagnostics port and gives Wi-Fi connections along with vehicle diagnostics and security. It came on the market after the wireless provider Verizon® launched a similar device called Hum and T-Mobile® started selling SyncUp Drive.
Of course, such devices have become big business for wireless providers in the country. A recent report drafted by Chetan Sharma Consulting suggest that a majority of the wireless segment’s net subscriber additions in this year’s first quarter came from IoT devices and connected cars.
However, as Chris Penrose pointed out, those vehicles with LTE connections are only a part of the Telco giant’s bigger automotive goals. For instance, he said that AT&T® connected over three million fleet vehicles as of Q3 for small business, government and enterprise subscribers. Penrose also added that its connected car efforts are international, presently spanning connections in fifty-seven nations.
Besides, these efforts of the company stretch into 5G as well as autonomous cars. Chris Penrose noted it works with 5GAA, Auto-ISAC and Automotive Edge Computing Consortium on such kinds of technologies, and joined hands with American Center for Mobility on testing facility beyond Detroit for self-driving vehicles.
Penrose said, “Now we’re on the cusp of the next chapter that will be transformative—and connectivity will play an essential role. We’re working with car manufacturers to put the pieces in place for totally automated cars that will make the roadways safer and more efficient, reduce traffic and give us more time for living. And 5G will open the door to new business models and new experiences.”