T-Mobile eyes auto market

T Mobile

Telecom giant T-Mobile has signalled its intention to target the auto finance market, announcing plans to launch a new network to support in-car connectivity via the Internet of Things (IoT) and a new fleet management solution for businesses.

Under its Un-carrier branding, the company announced plans to launch the first nationwide Narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT) network in 2018, having completed North America’s first NB-IoT field tests with Qualcomm and Ericsson earlier this year. Because NB-IoT uses very little spectrum to carry data with greater efficiency and performance, it is already the globally-preferred standard to power the rapidly expanding world of IoT applications.

With extended battery life and increased connectivity in hard to reach places, NB-IoT opens up new capabilities for businesses and cities to connect massive numbers of devices at lower cost with small and steady streams of data. This will be significant for new applications in the connected car field.

Un-carrier is also launching its own family of T-Mobile-branded IoT solutions. Last year, T-Mobile SyncUP DRIVE debuted, an all-in-one connected car solution, which attracted double the number of customers compared to its initial forecasts.

The company has now added T-Mobile SyncUP FLEET, designed to offer businesses of all sizes low-cost fleet management and monitoring to help reduce fuel consumption, maintenance issues and other costs.

SyncUP FLEET includes connected hardware and a cloud-based platform with easy-to-use management tools for businesses which can be accessed from a smartphone, tablet or desktop. Customers simply plug the SyncUP FLEET device into each vehicle’s standard on-board diagnostics (OBDII) port and create their online account to get started.

T-mobile says the application will help save time, by giving fleet managers a bird’s eye view of their entire fleet of vehicles, with reports on traffic delays, customer arrival times, driver time in location, and more.

Businesses can help cut fuel consumption by analyzing driver routes and idle time, while regular vehicle maintenance notifications can help prevent costly repairs with scheduled reports, emails or alerts. In addition, users can track the location of their employees to improve driver productivity and improve driving habits with regular risk and safety reports.

SyncUP FLEET is developed in partnership with global business logistics leader Geotab and will be available this fall for $3 per month on T-Mobile’s interest-free 24 month equipment installment plan (EIP), with a $15 per month unlimited mobile data plan per vehicle.