Sprint is wading into the connected home market just as AT&T appears ready to retreat from the space.
The No. 4 U.S. operator is partnering with Vivint, which provides smart home services, to offer connected residential offerings through its retail outlets, according to a new report from Wave7 Research. The carrier has installed digital home offerings at 16 stores in Arizona, Ohio, Utah and Kansas City, Missouri; and plans to expand the initiative to 80 stores by the end of the year, Wave7 said.
“In addition to a wide array of smart home gear (cameras, motion sensors, etc.), the offering provides two MRC (monthly recurring charge) options,” Wave7 wrote in a note to subscribers. “The basic Smart Home Service costs $39.99, but with Vivint’s outdoor, indoor and doorbell camera service, the MRC is $49.99. A small model home has been installed in a few Sprint stores to sell the offering.”
Vivint is a significant player in the automated home market, having been acquired by Blackstone for $2 billion five years ago.
The partnership comes as AT&T is reportedly considering selling its Digital Life business to lighten its debt load as it closes in on the $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner. AT&T launched the home security and automation service in 2013 in an effort to broaden its connected devices and services offerings. Digital Life comprises a variety of devices and services including motion alerts, energy controls and live video feeds, and is available in 80 U.S markets including New York and Chicago.
The operator “is exploring options” for Digital Life that may include a sale of the business, Reuters reported last month. The report, which cited unnamed “people familiar with the matter,” said Digital Life is estimated to have between 400,000 and 500,000 users and could garner roughly $1 billion in a spinoff.
That wouldn’t put much of a dent in AT&T’s overall debt of nearly $144 billion, Reuters noted, but “could be a prelude to more divestitures.” Digital Life displays have been pulled from at least some AT&T stores, Wave7 said, although the service is still being sold.