AT&T Seeks To Expand Market, Targets Dogs

Considering 91% of Americans carry a cell phone, there are not a lot of new customers for wireless carriers to target. That is, unless you start considering non-human customers. That's just what AT&T has in mind with a new dog collar that can connect to the Internet.

After talking about wireless dog collars for more than a year, AT&T is almost ready to deploy a collar. The collar could send text messages or emails to a pet owner if the pet strays outside of a predefined area. It could also provide continuous tracking of the pet.

A wireless dog collar is just one of many new devices AT&T hopes will catch on and provide additional streams of revenue. Other gadgets could include a pill box that will remind you to take your medicine, ereaders, tracking devices for shipping containers, and in-car entertainment systems. By connecting these types of devices to the Internet via AT&T's network, the company expects to bring in about $1 billion in annual services revenue in about five years.

"We see opportunities in dogs, in pallets, in cars and how you take your pills," Ralph de la Vega, the head of AT&T's mobile business, said at the CTIA annual wireless trade show.

AT&T showed off a dog collar at CTIA but did not reveal a price. The carrier expects to launch the collar later this year. The dog collar was developed by Berkeley, California-based Apisphere.