automobileVerizon is pursuing a considerably different connected car strategy than AT&T, an announcement from Verizon yesterday reveals. Verizon Vehicle, announced yesterday and scheduled for availability later this year, is an after-market device and service that will support emergency communications and dispatch, along with stolen vehicle location assistance and diagnostic, troubleshooting and maintenance capabilities.

A Verizon spokesperson told Telecompetitor the device is valued at $120 but will be available for free with a two-year contract. The monthly rate will be $14.99 a month for the first vehicle and $12.99 monthly for each additional vehicle.

Rather than pursuing the connected car after-market, AT&T is pursuing partnerships with auto makers to have AT&T technology built into their vehicles. In addition to providing connectivity, AT&T has created a modular connected car platform that manufacturers can use to customize their offering. Modular capabilities include billing, data analytics, infotainment, firmware over-the-air updates and others.

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AT&T reportedly is already providing wireless connectivity to at least two million cars.

Verizon Vehicle Suppliers
The Verizon Vehicle device includes an emergency call button that connects the user to a call center operated by emergency 9-1-1 specialist Intrado and staffed with operators who have expertise in handling emergency calls, the Verizon spokesperson said. The call center also is contacted if Verizon Vehicle detects a possible collision, and operators can dispatch help if a collision is confirmed or if vehicle occupants do not respond.

Verizon Vehicle also can summon roadside assistance provided by another qualified firm, the spokesperson said. And a third-party mechanics’ hotline, also included with Verizon Vehicle, is staffed by certified mechanics specializing in handling calls about mechanical issues, she said.

The Verizon Vehicle device works with vehicles that have two-port on-board diagnostics, which is built into nearly all vehicles built since 1996, according to the Verizon spokesperson. Verizon initially will sell Verizon Vehicle through a dedicated website but eventually will sell it through “select retailers,” she noted.

Other features of Verizon Vehicle include parking tools to help drivers find where they left their vehicles, meter tools to keep track of how much time is left on a parking meter and discounts on hotels, vehicle rentals, and auto maintenance and repairs.

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