AT&T has announced a multi-year deal that should see its 4G LTE radios in 10 million new Ford automobiles by 2020.
"Ford has selected AT&T to bring LTE to all new Ford vehicles in the US and Canada," Ralph de la Vega, CEO of AT&T mobile and business solutions, said on stage at the 2016 AT&T Developer Summit Tuesday morning. Ford originally started working with AT&T in 2011, and was the first major US auto maker to get in step with AT&T's Connected Car concept. (See AT&T Ups the Stakes in Connected Cars.)
Ford CTO Raj Nair says that Ford's Sync Connect product with AT&T's LTE connectivity will first be launched in "the new Escape" this spring.
The Ford SYNC system utilizes the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto operating systems to allow iPhone and Android smartphone users to interact with their new vehicles and onboard apps. See the video below for a quick overview. (See Google Steering Android Towards Cars – Report and Apple Global SIM Could Drive Connected Cars.)
"By 2020, we'll have it available across our line," Nair added. This should translate into about 10 million new Ford cars available with Ford LTE onboard over time, he noted.
Glenn Lurie, CEO of AT&T Mobility -- a long-time Internet of Things champion -- said on the stage that such deals as this continue to give Ma Bell an edge in the still-evolving machine-to-machine (M2M) communications.
"We've really extended our leadership in IoT," he claimed. (See AT&T Readies Low-Power LTE for IoT.)
As of the end of the third quarter of 2015, Lurie says, AT&T had 25 million connected devices on its network. "Nearly six million of those are cars," he said. As well as Ford, AT&T is working with GM, Audi, Nissan, Volvo, Tesla and more. (See AT&T Adds 500K Connected Cars in Q3 for a year-previous comparison.)
"We connect 9 of the top 16 car manufacturers in the world," de la Vega said.
"We're just scratching the surface," Lurie added. He predicts that anything from 25 billion to 50 billion connected devices will be online by 2020.
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading