AT&T's Lurie: 3G device modules cost $25 to $30

AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) had a gang buster third quarter when it came to connected device additions, and part of the reason is the falling prices of 3G modules that have declined at a rather dramatic rate.

In an interview with FierceBroadbandWireless, Glenn Lurie, president of AT&T Mobility's emerging devices business, said 3G module prices have dropped to about half of the $50 to $60 price point that they were at a year ago. That means manufacturers can add modules without significantly raising the prices of their devices.

AT&T saw 1.5 million new wholesale and connected device additions, significantly more than any other carrier in the third quarter. Meanwhile, Verizon Wireless saw 367,000 net additions in the third quarter, down from 523,000 in the previous quarter. Roger Entner, founder and analyst with Recon Analytics, said one of the major differences between Sprint's and Verizon's connected device strategy is 3G vs. 4G. While the future is LTE, prices for modules are still favoring 3G devices.

Lurie, meanwhile, also attributed AT&T's lead in the segment to its early move in the space, and the fact that AT&T has its own lab to test the devices. "We now have 14 million customers (in this space), and we've learned from them--what business models work, the usage patterns," Lurie said. "I now have more data than anyone else in this space, and we have more experience working on new business models."

Lurie said that while ereaders have done much to propel AT&T's connected devices business, a combination of business-to-business customers--such as M2M, health care and smart grid--and consumer devices, such as tablets, are propelling the company's business.

AT&T is also poised to capitalize on the move to LTE as consumers demand faster data speeds. "We're moving to LTE very quickly. With out network, you'll always have the ability to fall back to HSPA+," he said. Moreover, vendors are keen on dropping LTE into their devices. He cited the LTE-enabled Samsung GalaxyTab 8.9, which went on sale Nov. 20, as an LTE tablet that is coming to market at an aggressive pricing point of $497.99 with a contract.

For more:
- see this FierceWireless article

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Connected devices: A $1.2 trillion opportunity
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NPD: AT&T leads in tablets, Verizon Wireless leads in other connected devices

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