AT&T adds 684,000 connected cars in Q1

AT&T adds connected cars to its network. Verizon is talking telematics. The race to find new growth in a saturated U.S. smartphone market is on.

AT&T said it added 684,000 connected cars to its network in the first quarter as the company races to find its future growth in the Internet of things.

The telecom giant reported first quarter earnings of $3.2 billion, or 61 cents a share, on revenue of $32.6 billion, roughly flat with a year ago.

While the focus on smartphone additions and churn are the norm for wireless telecom players it's worth pondering some of the other figures that are almost throwaways. Why? That's where the growth will be.

Sure, AT&T added 1.2 million smartphones to its base in the first quarter with a churn of 1.02 percent. But 1.2 million total wireless net additions, including 684,000 connected cars is worth noting.

AT&T CFO John Stephens said:

We also saw the future of the Internet of Things, and developed platforms, such as the connected car and home automation. We now have more than 20 million connected devices on our network.

AT&T's connected device talk comes a day after Verizon reported its first quarter results. Verizon CFO Fran Shammo said:

New revenue streams from the Internet of Things and Telematics continue to emerge and grow. In the first quarter, these revenues totaled approximately $150 million, an increase of 25 percent...In particular, innovation within the transportation industry presents a great opportunity for us.

Simply put, the raise to connect cars is on.

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