AT&T is doing some in-house rearranging as it shifts all IoT and connected car functions under one roof,  AT&T Connected Solutions.

According to a company spokesperson, the shift is in response to the rapidly changing automotive market. The drive to be more software defined, along with the move from 4G to 5G, is pushing OEMs to think differently about the future of connectivity in cars.

Industry veteran Cameron Coursey will serve as the interim leader of AT&T Connected Solutions and report to Thaddeus Arroyo, chief strategy and development officer, as part of the new Emerging Businesses arm within the Corporate Strategy and Development organization.

The goal is to accelerate the momentum that AT&T has built over the years in the IoT space. Among the big U.S. wireless carriers, AT&T is widely recognized as the one to beat in the IoT space, especially when it comes to cars. It boasts nearly 60 million wholesale connected cars on its network and says it covers “more roads and highways than any other provider.”

AT&T used to have a dedicated team focused on IoT for more than a decade and that “helped get us to the strong market position we have today,” Coursey told Fierce via email. A few years ago, they mainstreamed IoT roles into various business functions and now, “we are excited to bring it all back together to drive our next decade of success.”

AT&T shut down its 3G network last year, so all of its IoT connections today are on 4G and 5G. 5G is growing “as we continue to deploy an advanced 5G network with new capabilities and high performance and the 5G device ecosystem evolves,” he said. He didn’t say when AT&T expects most of the IoT connections to be on 5G.

Asked how 5G IoT will be different from previous generations, he said there’s a huge growth trajectory heading into the 5G era, with Juniper Research predicting 5G-based IoT connections will reach 116 million globally by 2026.

Opportunities exist in areas like transportation, where pairing software-defined vehicles with 5G Stand-alone (SA) core will enable more advanced, mission-critical use cases, such as vehicle-to-vehicle communications, vehicle-to-infrastructure communications, connected EV charging stations and more.

“Our approach, starting with transportation, drives us into manufacturing, 5G, private networks – this will allow for more automated factories,” he said. “As we deploy 5G ultra-reliable low-latency communication, we believe many V2X use cases can be served by AT&T’s 5G network.”

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