AT&T touts apps, netbooks and embedded wireless

At a media luncheon yesterday at CTIA,  Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of AT&T Mobility and AT&T's consumer markets, predicted that the proportion of revenues that AT&T gets from broadband data will likely grow from 20 percent of revenues to 33 percent by 2013 with the potential to be even higher. Specifically, de la Vega touted AT&T's broadband strategy, which includes a mix of HSPA (deploying 20 more markets this year), WiFi (20,000 hotspots through Wayport acquisition) and DSL. "The mass market can't do without this," de la Vega said.

To help spur that growth, AT&T is working with OEMs to bundle offerings such as its recently announced promotional deal to sell netbooks through its own stores for as low as $49.99 with a two-year contract.  Glenn Lurie, president of emerging devices, said that these types of embedded wireless devices (everything from computers to dog collars) will be the biggest single opportunity in wireless in the coming years.

But netbooks and embedded devices aren't the only thing driving wireless data consumption. David Christopher, chief marketing officer for AT&T Mobility and consumer markets, said that applications are becoming increasingly important and that's why the company is debuting an App Beta program that will let developers test their applications with AT&T customers giving the consumer a "direct voice" in getting the type of applications they want. Christopher added that top applications will likely be promoted by AT&T and offered to consumers. Although he wouldn't comment on the likelihood of AT&T introducing its own app store, Christopher did say that as the demand for applications grows, there will likely be different ways for consumers to make their app purchases, whether through the company's Media Mall or though an App Store.

Other tidbits from the luncheon:

  • The company is working with manufacturers on a possible Android device but executives said that they first want to ensure that any Android device meets security requirements.
  • 75 percent of device sales are 3G devices
  • AT&T will be offering six new devices this spring: LG Xenon, Samsung Impression, Samsung Propel Pro, Samsung Magnet, LG Neon and the Nokia E71x, which will be exclusive to AT&T.

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