Carriers added more connected cars than handsets in 2017
In 2017, wireless service providers in the United States have added more connected cars than smartphone devices, for the first time ever in the history of the wireless industry, at least according to new information provided by Chetan Sharma Consulting. In its most recent quarterly report, the research firm further projected that connected cars will likely continue to serve as a driver of growth in the world of mobile. It certainly helps that the level of smartphone penetration in America is now at 93 percent, which means that significant growth may be hard to come by in the next few months or even years.
According to Chetan Sharma Consulting, it is not just connected cars that are starting to gain some traction -- other connected devices such as wearable devices and smart home gadgets are beginning to show some growth in terms of adoption. The research firm’s data shows that all connected devices (not counting smartphones) are capturing a full two thirds of the total volume of net additions during 2017. What this means is that while it is true that smartphone sales will still be generally healthy in the near future on account of the large population of current smartphone subscribers, net smartphone additions will probably begin to decline to make way for net additions of other connected devices.
As for connected cars, this market might want to thank AT&T for helping them reach this current level of adoption. As pointed out by Chetan Sharma Consulting, the second biggest wireless carrier in the United States (behind industry leader Verizon Wireless) continues to be number one when it comes to connected car net additions. As a matter of fact, Q4 2017 is the eleventh consecutive quarter in which the mobile operator has recorded at least one million connected car net additions.
As indicated in a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), AT&T stated that it had made significant progress in encouraging growth in the adoption of connected cars. In Q3 2017 and in the first three quarters of last year, the mobile operator had gained an estimated 1.5 million and 4.7 million wholesale connected cars, respectively, by way of partnerships it had struck with several automobile manufacturers, including familiar names such as Ford, BMW, Lincoln, Volvo, and Tesla, just to name a few. Right now, the carrier is claiming that it has about 17 million connected cars on its network, as well as 2.7 million connected fleet vehicles.