AT&T's Digital Life appeals to the OTT broadband audience

AT&T (NYSE: T) finally introduced its Digital Life home automation and service, one that will appeal to its wireless customers who in many markets are outside of their traditional wireline network footprint.

Initially serving 15 markets scattered in various large U.S. cities, the telco said by the end of the year it plans to bring the service to 50 markets.

Eligible AT&T customers can get a Smart Security package for $39.99 a month that includes motion, smoke, carbon monoxide and "glass break" sensors, plus $250 for equipment and installation. For an additional $10, AT&T will provide customers with home security cameras. The telco is also charging $5 monthly for an energy package that lets users control lighting and thermostats, $5 monthly for automated door locks and $5 for flood sensors.

AT&T is entering a newly competitive arena for telcos and cable operators alike.

In the Los Angeles area, the telco will compete with Cox Communications and Verizon (NYSE: VZ), which also sell security and automation products. On the East Coast, Frontier and Time Warner Cable have added home security to their service rosters in the Rochester, N.Y., region, while Verizon offers its Home Monitoring and Control service in New Jersey market and the rest of its 10-state footprint. 

The telco will also go head-to-head with Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA), which already offers its Xfinity Home service in Chicago, Denver, Atlanta, Miami, Seattle and San Francisco.

Although AT&T's Digital Life is clearly a wireless-focused product, it will leverage the wireline broadband connection inside each consumer's home, illustrating the reality that telcos need to also have an over-the-top service play to remain competitive and ramp revenues at a time when traditional wireline services like TDM voice continue to decline.

While the telco and cable operators' move into the home automation market is still early, Analysys Mason forecast that security and surveillance solutions in North America will generate $1.2 billion in connectivity-related revenue (wholesale revenue) for carriers by 2021.

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