Sprint Turns Chryslers Into Mobile Hot Spots

Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) is teaming up with Chrysler to bring 3G to the dashboard and Wi-Fi to the entire vehicle.

The companies announced the partnership, the latest in the telematics space, on Monday. Sprint's 3G network will power Chrysler's Uconnect Access service in the 2013 Ram 1500 pickup and SRT Viper at launch. Sprint will act as systems integrator for Chrysler, managing data transport, navigation and the connection to the car.

Marios Zenios, head of Uconnect Systems and Services at Chrysler, said on a call with media Monday to expect voice-recognition technology for texting or navigation, integration with smartphones and tablets to stream music and use other apps, and safety features such as remote lock and unlock and one-touch connections to 911 and roadside assistance. Sprint's also equipping the cars with Wi-Fi hot spots to let passengers use their laptops en route.

Why this matters
The automotive industry is shaping up to be a hotly contested battleground for telematics. And, for the most part, the car dealers have been eager to jump on wireless networks. BMW, Honda, Hyundai Motor Company, Kia Motors and Toyota have joined up with Verizon Wireless to explore Long Term Evolution (LTE) in cars, while others like Detroit bigwig General Motors are focused on mimicking a smartphone-like experience on the dashboard without any wireless connection.

Sprint doesn't have a widespread LTE network to offer up yet, but it's getting its foot in the door with Chrysler, which said that it plans to connect more cars in its lineup and explore 4G with Sprint to bring more video applications into the car.

"Neither of us are the number-one player in our respective industries, but we are in terms of innovation and driving customer experience across the board," said Sprint President of Wholesale and Emerging Solutions Matt Carter, adding that the companies will implement the services "under the delicate balance of responsible driving," a vital consideration in connected cars today.

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— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 5:24:38 PM
re: Sprint Turns Chryslers Into Mobile Hot Spots

There really is a fine line between cool additions to the car and encouraging distracted driving. I recently demoed Cadillac's CUE set up, and it's got a lot of fun features, but I imagine just learning the dashboard will take your eyes away from the road a lot.

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