AT&T debuts its first plug-in vehicle Wi-Fi hotspot device

AT&T (NYSE: T) is offering its first plug-in vehicle Wi-Fi hotspot, supplied by ZTE USA, starting Sept. 11 in AT&T stores and online. Dubbed the ZTE Mobley, the device allows up to five devices to connect to the Internet through AT&T's hotspot data plan and LTE network.

Previously, AT&T has offered connected Wi-Fi hotspots for various OEMs and selected vehicles. This is the first time AT&T is offering a plug-in Wi-Fi hotspot device that works with most vehicles that are 1996 and newer. Once plugged in, there's no need for charging cables as the device gets powered by the vehicle. Users simply plug the device into the on-board diagnostics port of the vehicle.

The new plug-in device features a Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) MDM9215 processor and will be available for zero down with a two-year agreement of $100 with no annual commitment. AT&T says the device can be added to the Mobile Share Value plan for an additional access charge of $10 per month or connected with a DataConnect plan, with monthly charges of $20 for 1 GB or $30 for 3 GB.

"The ZTE Mobley is our first Wi-Fi plug-in for the car. It's great for everyone - families, entertainment enthusiasts and professionals," said Chris Penrose, senior vice president of Internet of Things (IoT) at AT&T Mobility, in a press release. "It allows multiple Wi-Fi-capable devices to connect to AT&T's 4G LTE network, making it perfect for anyone on-the-go."

Earlier this year, Penrose told Reuters that AT&T had plans to release exclusive content, including videos and games, that can be streamed onto smartphones and tablets inside connected cars, in 2015. AT&T has connected car deals with at least eight automobile companies, including BMW, General Motors, Ford and Tesla. The carrier expects to have at least 50 percent market share of new connected cars in 2015.

According to analyst Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research, the big four carriers crossed a milestone when their reported "connected devices" -- i.e. connected cars, M2M services and other non-traditional devices -- crossed 10 percent of the overall base of connections. There were 36 million of such connections at the end of the second quarter, almost double the 19 million at the end of the first quarter of 2012, which was 6 percent of the total base of connections then.

Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ) is offering the Delphi Connect with 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot on its website for $99.99 with a two-year contract or $199.99 without a contract. It also plugs into the vehicle's on-board diagnostics and is compatible with most vehicles sold in the United States beginning with the 1996 model year.

For more:
- see the press release

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