Cellular industry looks to cars, IoT for new customers

Cars actually accounted for more new cellular accounts in the first quarter of 2016 than phones, according to a new report.

It's no secret smartphone growth has plateaued, but that doesn't mean the cellular industry can't find new customers.

In fact, as many as 69 percent of new cellular accounts added in the first quarter of 2016 came from cars, tablets and "machine to machine" connectivity (m2m, or IoT), according to a new report from industry consultant Chetan Sharma.

Recode points out that more new accounts actually went to cars (32 percent) than to phones (31 percent). Sharma reports that AT&T is adding more connected cars than rest of the operators combined.

Tablets accounted for 23 percent of new accounts in 1Q2016, but the report noted that the growth of new tablet accounts has declined sharply.

Meanwhile, much-hyped IoT market accounted for 14 percent of new accounts. Verizon's IoT/Telematics business is likely to surpass $1B this year, Sharma reported. AT&T, meanwhile, recently announced a partnership with Otis Elevator Company to bring IoT technology to city services and manufacturing.

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