US cellular connectivity provider AT&T is investing $200 million in start-ups that focus on software-defined networks, connected services and IoT platforms.
The company will work in collaboration with venture capital firm Coral Group’s Communications Industry Platform (CIP) team to launch the investment fund, with the aim of identifying and investing in start-ups addressing some of the “toughest technology challenges”.
In particular, AT&T says that the fund will invest in technologies that run on its Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP), an operating system for software-defined networks that the company uses to manage its own cloud network.
Read more: SAP set to make €2 billion investment in IoT
Addressing a global need
Addressing the significance of the collaboration, Andre Fuetsch, chief technology officer and president of AT&T Labs, said the investment “is part of our push to address the needs of global service providers.”
“We look forward to collaborating with Coral and other CIP members to find – and even create – start-up companies to build disruptive technologies to solve these challenges.”
This investment makes sense and represents the company’s latest foray into the IoT market. A transition to IoT looks increasingly vital to AT&T, which needs to decrease its reliance on the wireless and phone carrier markets.
In April, AT&T announced that it had lost 191,000 contract mobile customers during its first quarter, compared to a 129,000 gain in the same period the previous year.
It’s not the only telco that Coral has attracted, however. In May 2015, Spanish telecoms provider Telefónica announced a partnership with the firm. Like AT&T, its plan was to invest $200 million in a start-up incubation initiative dubbed Open Future.