COMET News: February 2014

By: Jesse Cryderman

AT&T bets big on connected car

AT&T surged ahead in the connected car market with two major initiatives announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in early January: AT&T Drive, the company's connected car platform, and AT&T Drive Studio, a dedicated facility for connected car research and development. Support system partners include Amdocs (billing), Ericsson (app delivery), and Jasper Wireless (cloud-based M2M platform). Automakers Tesla, Chevrolet, and Audi were announced as manufacturing partners.

According to a press release, AT&T connectivity will power Tesla’s remote engine diagnostics, telematics, and industry-leading infotainment features such as Internet radio, Web browsing, live traffic, weather and navigation, all accessed through the 17-inch touchscreen.

Audi plans to introduce in-car LTE with the help of AT&T, beginning with its 2015 A3 series. “With the introduction of the new A3 family Audi is putting the most advanced technology into the compact luxury segment,” said Scott Keogh, President, Audi of America. “Offering drivers a 4G LTE connection will provide the fastest in-vehicle connection available and significantly enhance the infotainment experience.”

Chevrolet announced that the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette, Impala, Malibu, and Volt would be the first General Motors’ vehicles to come optionally equipped with OnStar 4G LTE, running on AT&T’s 4G LTE network. Other models will soon follow, and the majority of the 2015 Chevrolet lineup in the U.S and Canada will have a 4G LTE connection built-in at vehicle launch.  “Chevrolet is expected to implement the broadest deployment of 4G LTE in the automotive industry,” said Alan Batey, Senior Vice President of Global Chevrolet. “The fact that OnStar with 4G LTE will be available in models that range from the Chevrolet Spark to the Silverado to the Corvette, is indicative of our broad commitment to deliver more value and convenience through smart technology applications. This new, purposeful technology solution will make our consumers lives easier to connect.”

AT&T Mobility is betting big because it believes the car is the next smartphone. "The car is about to become essentially one more connected device on a customer's shared data plan," said Chris Penrose, Senior Vice President, emerging devices, AT&T Mobility. "The Connected Car market is an area of strategic importance for AT&T, and it was only natural to team up with Amdocs, whose dynamic solutions continue to provide new monetization capabilities."

T-Mobile stirs up competition

T-Mobile struck back at AT&T's recent pay-to-switch incentive with Un-Carrier 4.0, a program that encourages potential customers to leave their current carrier by offering to pay off early termination fees, which could total up to $650 per line. T-Mo added 1.65 million subs in Q4 and brought its churn stats down, so its strategy appears to be working.

The company also made news when CEO John Legere crashed AT&T's CES after party and hung out for 20 minutes, posing for photos, before being thrown out.  He didn’t stop there. At a public presentation the next day, Legere claimed that T-Mobile, not AT&T, has the fastest mobile network in the U.S.


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