AT&T announces deal with Globecomm to offer satellite fallback for IoT customers

AT&T announced two new deals as the carrier continued to gain momentum in the emerging IoT market.

The company said it is partnering with the data management company Globecomm to launch a service linking satellites to its cell network. The offering enables IoT devices to automatically switch to satellites when cell connectivity is unavailable, eliminating the need for businesses to purchase cell and satellite service separately and allowing them to use both to manage their devices, networks and applications.

"We're offering a one-stop shop for IoT connectivity," said Mike Troiano, vice president of AT&T IoT Solutions. "(Customers) don't have to choose one connectivity solution over the other – they can have the full package."

AT&T also announced an expansion of its relationship with Otis Elevator Company that will provide connectivity to elevators, escalators and moving walkway equipment. The carrier will also provide mobile devices and services to more than 30,000 Otis service employees as part of the deal.

"We will also develop new responsive service solutions that give Otis employees more autonomy and Otis customers more control over their equipment buildings by leveraging the AT&T IoT technology to harness data generated by the nearly 2 million elevators currently under Otis service contract transporting over 2 billion people per day," said Otis President Philippe Delpech.

AT&T has established itself as a leader among major U.S. carriers in the IoT, but Verizon is moving quickly to expand its business there as well. Verizon CFO Fran Shammo said during an earnings call last week that new revenue streams from the IoT generated roughly $195 million for Verizon during the first quarter, marking a 25 percent year-over-year increase. The operator added 176,000 connected devices other than smartphones and tablets during the quarter, Shammo said.

T-Mobile has been less aggressive in its pursuit of the IoT, but CEO John Legere promised late last year that the operator would "disrupt" the IoT market, dismissing AT&T's IoT business as "lots of cars and other low-value IoT connections." Legere said T-Mobile will chase the IoT segment more actively once markets such as connected cars and smart homes "get ready for prime time."

Sprint, meanwhile has been less vocal about its IoT ambitions, opting to target traditional consumers as it tries to regain its footing in a competitive U.S. mobile market.

For more:
- see these AT&T press releases
- see this Verizon earnings call transcript

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