AT&T to invest $1B in cloud, mobility services

AT&T (NYSE:T) said it will spend $1 billion this year to push cloud, mobility and network solutions to enterprise customers, an action the company said was largely made possible by the explosion of embedded wireless devices and smartphones. 

The sum, which is part of AT&T's previously announced budget of $19 billion for capital expenditures this year, will be directed to five key areas. Chief among them is advanced mobility solutions for connected devices, including tablets, ereaders and other gadgets. AT&T added 1.6 million emerging devices in the first quarter and counts 12 million on its network.

AT&T also said it will focus the investments on cloud-based and emerging network services for data storage and management, and other computing needs. The company will focus on bringing cloud services to global enterprise networking, small businesses and the healthcare industry.

In the past few years cloud computing has become a significant force in mobile--less of a curiosity and more of a necessity. For example, in March Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) announced a partnership with Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) to make a new RIM-hosted BlackBerry-enterprise service available for Microsoft's Office 365 cloud computing suite, a move RIM said will save corporate customers money, enhance security and speed up the rollout of new BlackBerry services.

Additionally, cloud technology is at the heart of Hewlett-Packard's webOS platform, Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android operating system makes extensive use of cloud services, and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has been building a massive data center in North Carolina widely believed to be a launching point for cloud computing technology for Apple's iOS platform. 

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