AT&T to bring 4G to all new Ford units in the US and Canada

By @chelean on
An AT&T sign is shown on a building in downtown San Diego, California March 18, 2014.
An AT&T sign is shown on a building in downtown San Diego, California March 18, 2014. Reuters/Mike Blake

Beginning mid-2016, Ford Escape buyers in North America can now access their vehicles using a smartphone app through a built-in AT&T network connect. The connection, called SYNC Connect, is offered with five years complementary AT&T service from the beginning of vehicle ownership.

“We’re thrilled to expand our relationship with Ford to deliver an enhanced connected experience to more Ford drivers,” Chris Penrose, senior vice president, Internet of Things at AT&T, said in a press release. “[We believe that] connected car services are an important feature to consumers.”

The rollout is expected to benefit over 10 million Ford consumers. According to the carmarker, it would also become available for the Ford and Lincoln line-up eventually.

Penrose said SYNC Connect will let drivers to unlock the car, start it up, check gas level, and find it from a parking area through an app linked to the mobile device.

"Vehicle owners want the convenience that comes with being connected at home and on the go. With SYNC Connect, we are able to provide features and services that make the car an even more seamless part of our customers’ connected lifestyles," said Raj Nair, Ford executive vice president, Global Product Development and chief technical officer.

Entrepreneurs say that this could change both the automobile and mobile Internet service game, starting in the United States and Canada and eventually across the globe, as this could encourage other competitors to follow suit.

“Given how limited strong connection in some parts of the US, this could encourage new car buyers — especially the younger ones, to consider putting Ford on top of their purchase list. With free Internet everywhere, that could be a real selling point,” said Daniel Bland CEO of San Diego-based network enhancer provider 5BARz International (OTCQB: BARZ).

His company has been partnering with various telco companies since Q3 of 2015 to help them solve network-infrastructure-related problems affecting their services. Among its first clients are Tier One telcos in India, a country that is currently experiencing massive call drop problems. “Our goal is to solve it, so that consumers no longer have to switch service providers [every now and then] that promise better, stronger connection. Our plug-and-play technology can improve any network connection there is,” Bland added, saying that his company will be looking at the US market after its Southeast Asian expansion this year.

AT&T is now in talks with nine other companies to convince them on having the same service Ford is currently getting. It has also inked a deal with Red Bull, enabling the energy drink manufacturer’s coolers connected to a cloud-based system. Presently, 200,000 of its coolers are covered by the AT&T deal.

"Data changes the game, it’s a new industrial revolution,” said AT&T President and CEO Ralph de la Vega.

Corrections: January, 27, 2016
The original version of this article stated that the SYNC Connect technology option would end in 2020. It is now modified to include the correct dates. It also incorrectly said the technology came with Wi-Fi option. This has been amended as well.

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