On April 3, 1973 a man changed the history of telecommunications. He passed through the streets of New York, carrying Motorola’s DynaTAC, which was 9 inches long and 2.5 pounds, and he made the first call using the gadget.
The device was the first hand-held cellular technology phone. The person honored to get this call was Mr. Joel Engel, his professional rival and a Bell Labs engineer.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen. Everything started with a prank!
(Martin Cooper and the first handheld.)
Some might say the first mobile phone was invented in 1922. This footage shows the device being used by two elegant ladies.
(I was told the device had better reception than some of today’s companies!)
It’s been forty years, and even if you don’t own a mobile phone, you probably see a lot of people tweeting, taking pictures, playing games, and even making calls.
The technology has been developed tremendously since that fatidic day so there’s plenty of data to analyze with this topic. Today I want to focus on AT&T.
AT&T Inc. is a worthy company due to its place in history as one of the pioneers in the development of cellular technology. Heck, why not say for the telephone itself, since the founder of the company was Graham Bell who is known as the inventor of the first practical telephone.
The Market Today
The US market today is mainly cornered by Verizon and AT&T. The former is the largest mobile services supplier, with nearly 110 million customers. The company’s success can be assigned mainly to the reach and reliability of the service. The latter has the largest selection of available phones and it is the second largest operator with nearly 104 million customers; its wireless network is ample and the company also owns the largest 4G network within the United States.
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Since 2009, AT&T has made several bold movements to establish a stronger position on the market. Some worked pretty well. Others, such as the attempt to buy T-Mobile USA frmo Deutsche Telekom, were unsuccessful due to the intervention of the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice.
AT&T has also formed some partnerships with Apple and HTC, and it is possible to perceive on our graphic both actions turned out pretty well. Another action undertaken by AT&T was the alliance with Facebook and HTC, when the companies sold an Android phone for $99. Recorded Future’s sentiment analysis (green curves) shows both actions owned positive feedback.
Acquisitions and Fusions
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In the light of the actions undertaken by AT&T, what can we expect for the future?
The US market is saturated so the company is looking for ways to increase their customer base with acquisitions and partnerships. But as we talked before, the main movement carried out by the company this year was not feasible.
On the positive side, AT&T has been able to acquire spectrum from Comcast Corp., NeXT Wave Wireless Inc., and Horizon Wi-com. These movements increased their spectrum holdings. The company also bought Leap Wireless (Cricket) to broaden its customer roster of prepaid phone users, a $1.2 billion business.
Now, the odds are the company will look for technology abroad and it will navigate to further lands.
A simple query with Recorded Future can help to explain the company’s intentions. As we can see, AT&T demonstrated intention to acquire the Spanish company Telefonica. Thus, the Iberian Peninsula company denied the deal.
Upcoming Phones and Technologies
Since the first handheld, devices have gotten much smaller. Unless we´re attached to brick style phones, like Zack Morris, we must thank engineers and designers for creating phones that are actually portable.
For the youngsters, let me paint a picture for you. Phones back in the day were huge. Just imagine going on a date 30 years ago, carrying your brand new mobile phone. (Very sexy!) If there was a tornado, all you needed to do was hug your phone (and your date) and its weight acted like a stake in the ground. Neither of you would budge an inch. You’d be a hero.
So, is AT&T attached to the past or looking to the future in terms of design and technology? The view below allows us to take a glimpse into the future. Let´s check.
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Here are my observations after using Recorded Future’s Temporal Analytics™ Engine:
Personalization is a proven tendency and finally it seems to have reached the mobile market.
With so many options for devices and configurations, Google fulfilled the one project that will empower the customer: to take control of the phone and let the consumer customize it. Beneath Motorola Mobility (bought by Google a couple of years ago) the company finally revealed its project, known now as Moto X.
AT&T joined forces with Google and it may possibly be the first carrier within the US to sell the Moto X, a totally customized Android phone. The customers will be able to choose more than 2,000 combinations of accents, colors, textures, and other designs. Google´s operating system will bring the phone to life and AT&T will sell the phone for a starting price of $ 199.99.
(Update: Moto X sales started on August 23, 2013.)
HTC One Mini
The junction between cell phones and computers took us to the market of smartphone and tablets. The computational power is increasing each time a company unveils a new product. By the end of 2013, AT&T has plans to launch at least 20 LTE devices (LTE is an acronym for Long Term Evolution).
AT&T has turned on the US largest LTE network; the LTE technology is capable of delivering speeds faster than any other mobile internet technology. The Moto X and HTC One Mini are just two examples.
Another sleek device is the Samsung Mega, recently released. The huge 6.3” HD screen, powered with a dual core 1.7 GHz processor, is ideal for multi-tasking since it can split view and have multi window.
AT&T is also the first company to integrate smartphones with the NVidia Tegra4i technology. The chip is going to be used with 4G/LTE devices by the beginning of next year. According to NVidia, the Tegra4i features quad-core ARM Cortex-A9/r4, running at 2.30GHz, with one low-power core that operates when performance is not required.
Convergence, this is the key word for new technologies. It means to come together from different directions to form one unit. AT&T’s Connected Car is a perfect example of this approach. The user will be able to really interact with the car. The technology combines artificial intelligence within the car to AT&T’s cloud, the place where the rest of your information resides. Together they’ll bring interaction (and personalization) to a whole new level.
The main idea behind this is to do EVERYTHING without typing or getting distracted. You just talk to the car and artificial intelligence will take care of the rest. You can order pizzas while driving and authorize the payment with a verbal command.
Finally, you can feel like Michael, but with more class.
This will be linked pretty soon with the Digital Life service. One will be able to control several aspects of the house, such as security and even feeding the dog.
The company already signed contracts with GM, BMW, Nissan, and Ford. According to AT&T spoke´s person, by 2016, 53% of the cars are expected to have built-in telematics.
As we can see, the overall sentiment is positive and this may be a sign this business approach is a worthwhile investment; the financial returns can be high.
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The evolution of telecommunications has provided us with different lifestyles, products, and information – all in real time. With so much data, feeling overwhelmed is normal nowadays. Artificial intelligence is capable of dealing with this burden. Man has created technology that can pick pick up on human tendencies and sometimes even provide insight to what may happen in the future.
Actually, this article was only possible because I, with a single query, can organize petabytes of information in seconds using Recorded Future.
Everything AT&T is working on fascinates me. Their devices are enforcing efficient multi-tasking which can bring back precious time to do things such as walking the dog.
(The feeding process is guaranteed, right?)