Tele­com gi­ant of­fers smart car tech

Vancouver Sun - - FP VANCOUVER -

Deutsche Telekom AG has a new way to sell wire­less con­tracts — by turn­ing your clunker into a smart car.

Europe’s largest phone car­rier is of­fer­ing own­ers of cars built since 2006 a ser­vice that will mon­i­tor driv­ing data and turn the ve­hi­cle into a Wi-Fi hot spot, as the com­pany taps into de­mand for on-trip surf­ing and con­nected de­vices.

The Bonn-based car­rier is sell­ing cus­tomers in Ger­many an adapter that plugs into the di­ag­nos­tics con­nec­tor fit­ted in al­most all mod­ern cars.

While it’s of­fer­ing the wire­less de­vice at one euro — $1.50 — the real cash for the com­pany is in the con­tracts needed to run the ser­vice — about 10 eu­ros ($15) a month for 10 gi­ga­bytes of data.

“We’re not only of­fer­ing own­ers of older cars the chance to make their ve­hi­cle smart, but also turn the car into a rolling Wi-Fi hot spot,” Michael Hagsphil, who heads Deutsche Telekom’s pri­vate con­sumer busi­ness in Ger­many, said in a state­ment.

Deutsche Telekom’s foray into ve­hi­cles is its lat­est at­tempt to en­ter the con­nected de­vices mar­ket that’s in­creas­ingly at­trac­tive to con­sumers. On Mon­day, the car­rier un­veiled its own voice­con­trolled smart home speaker, com­pat­i­ble with Ama­ Inc.’s Alexa ser­vice, that will go on sale next year.

Swe­den’s Telia AB of­fers a sim­i­lar ve­hi­cle ser­vice where own­ers can mon­i­tor lo­ca­tion, di­ag­nos­tics and en­gine er­ror codes as well as get alerted if the car is bro­ken into.

Spend­ing on smart home hard­ware, ser­vices and in­stal­la­tion fees will reach US$155 bil­lion glob­ally by 2022, up from al­most $90 bil­lion this year, ac­cord­ing to con­sul­tant Strat­egy An­a­lyt­ics.

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