AT&T chief executive Randall Stephenson said Tuesday that over half a million iPad owners were using the US telecom giant's cellular network and new tablet computers were expected to help drive growth.
AT&T is the exclusive provider of 3G cellular service for Apple's iPad, which went on sale in the United States in April, It also is the exclusive US carrier for the iPhone.
"We have over half a million iPads connected to the network," Stephenson told financial analysts at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia XIX Conference.
"And you're going to see a stream of new tablets come to market from a number of carriers," he said. "That's a whole new growth prospect for this industry that is really just in its infancy as well.
"We're at the really early stages of this connected device phenomenon," he continued. "It's a very nice business model."
AT&T on Tuesday also released a new smartphone, the TerreStar Genus, which provides satellite connectivity in addition to 3G cellular service.
AT&T said the combination of 3G and satellite coverage provides "always-on connectivity" throughout the United States and offshore coastal waters.
"The Genus is intended to serve as an everyday mobile phone, with satellite capability as a backup option when needed," AT&T said of the smartphone which is powered by Microsoft's Window Mobile 6.5 operating system.
AT&T is marketing the Genus as a device for government, energy, utility, transportation and maritime users who need connectivity at all times.
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