Verizon, T-Mobile knock on smart home door

Both Verizon and T-Mobile are putting a tentative toe into selling smart home services from other companies, though it's unclear whether the two mobile network operators have any major intentions in the area.

The interest by Verizon and T-Mobile in the space is noteworthy considering AT&T at one point held grand smart home ambitions that it has since retired. Meantime, other telecom operators such as Comcast continue to doggedly chase the smart home space.

T-Mobile's newfound interest in smart home service was first highlighted by Wave7 Research, a research and consulting firm that closely tracks pricing and promotions in the US wireless industry. The firm reported that T-Mobile has installed Vivint smart home displays in select T-Mobile stores in California. The effort – potentially a test to determine if a wider offering is worthwhile – comes several years after Sprint similarly tested sales of Vivint smart home services in a number of markets, according to Wave7.

T-Mobile acquired Sprint earlier this year. T-Mobile officials did not respond to questions on the topic by Light Reading.

T-Mobile's reported interest in smart home offerings comes amid Verizon's new allegiance with Amazon in the smart home arena. For example, Verizon is now offering a free Amazon "Smart Home Bundle" – which includes an Echo Show 5, Ring Stick Up Cam, Echo Dot and Amazon Smart Plug – with its 5G Home fixed wireless service.

Verizon's pairing with Amazon on smart home services dovetails with the company's new corporate attitude toward high-level product partnerships. For example, in recent years Verizon has shifted from selling its own video offerings to instead bundling services like Disney+ and YouTube TV into its products. And for Amazon specifically, Verizon already has an extensive edge computing partnership with the company.

The recent interest in smart home services by T-Mobile and Verizon contrasts with AT&T's exit from the space. After several years of hyping its own Digital Life smart home platform, including promises of international expansion, AT&T began backtracking from the business a few years ago. Of note, Reuters reported in 2017 that AT&T was exploring a sale of Digital Life, and Wave7 reported that the service disappeared from AT&T stores in 2018.

However, based on the company's website, AT&T is still selling Digital Life services in "select areas," and is still providing support to existing customers.

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Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

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