AT&T added more objects than people to its network in the third quarter of this year.
AT&T is the second-largest carrier in the US (behind Verizon) and they are under pressure from aggressive smaller rivals T-Mobile and Sprint. The US market reached 100% penetration according to an OECD broadband report released earlier this year. AT&T’s mobile business generated $18.34 billion in revenues in Q3, up 5% on the year-ago quarter, and contributed 56% to the telco’s overall top line. Group revenues came in at $32.96 billion, up 2.5%.
US wireless customers are used to getting heavy device subsidies from the big carriers, something AT&T is looking to move away from. The shift away from phones could be the start of an interesting trend. There is not a global automotive manufacture worth its salt that doesn’t have an office in Silicon Valley.
- AT&T Inc. added over 500,000 car data plans, thanks to the Internet connectivity included in many 2015 models that went on sale in recent months. It added 342,000 tablet customers and 466,000 smartphone customers, including existing customers upgrading from basic phones.
- On tablets, AT&T said it is seeing a shift toward postpaid plans, which will mean revenue stability in the long run. Previously, many customers turned on service for just a month here and there, depending on their immediate needs.
- AT&T’s larger rival, No. 1 carrier Verizon, is also seeing growth in tablets. On Tuesday, the company said it added 1.1 million postpaid tablets in the quarter, compared with 457,000 postpaid phones.
Looks like IoT may graduate from an industry buzz word, to a survival mechanism for some operators in mature markets. The big question is will these opportunities evolve quick enough to offset declines due to other factors?