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AT&T's focus on connected cars is beginning to pay off

Brad Molen

It's no secret that the US wireless market is saturated, and that most people who want a mobile device have already purchased one by now. Naturally, this means that the national players in the industry are looking for other points of revenue to aid future growth. AT&T is proving that it's one of the most successful in this venture by announcing today that it's activated a heap of connected devices last quarter -- to the tune of 1.3 million. That's a healthy number, especially since the company accumulated only a tenth of that in the previous quarter. This genre refers to a wide range of gadgets that come with an AT&T SIM card inside, but the most interesting part of this announcement is that over 500,000 of those activated devices come from connected cars.

This is huge news for AT&T, which has worked hard to forge partnerships with car makers like General Motors and Audi, as well as establish a developer platform called AT&T Drive. The company says that this brings the total number of AT&T-connected vehicles to two million, which means that it increased its fleet by roughly thirty percent. This is no small growth, and as more and more new cars come out with built-in connectivity, that growth isn't going to slow down anytime soon; in an SEC document filed three weeks ago, AT&T says it expects to connect over 10 million vehicles by the end of 2017. To achieve that goal, it'll have to activate 650,000 cars each quarter, but given the massive growth we've already seen in the past year or two, it's hard to believe that the company wouldn't exceed its initial estimate. And since AT&T is now breaking out connected cars into its own sub-category in the earnings reports, it's obvious that the wireless operator is starting to see its efforts pay off in dividends.

[Image credit: Getty Images]

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