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Inside AT&T’s Tie-Up with Softbox to Test Drone Delivery

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Aug. 29 2018, Updated 6:30 a.m. ET

AT&T to deliver medicine 

Telecommunications company AT&T (T) has joined hands with Softbox Systems to test the delivery with drones of temperature-sensitive medications. Softbox is a UK-based specialist in the packaging of temperature control pharmaceuticals. The testing was done with an LTE[1. Long-Term Evolution]-connected drone that contained Softbox’s thermal-insulated packaging system Skypod, powered by AT&T’s IoT (Internet of Things) technology. Medicines will be provided by Merck & Co. (MRK).

The trials will be conducted in various locations across Puerto Rico. If the testing is completed successfully, it will facilitate the delivery of critical medicines during difficult times.

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AT&T’s IoT technology to track Skypod 

IoT technology from AT&T will help track the drone with Skypod and is designed to send alerts if it goes outside the geofencing parameters or if climate conditions change. The initiative is likely to help deliver vital medicines and humanitarian aid during natural disasters such as floods and hurricanes, thus boosting the company’s corporate social responsibility.

AT&T struggling to add customers

AT&T added 3.8 million wireless customers in the second quarter. It included 3.1 million subscriber additions in the United States and 756,000 additions in Mexico. Its strong wireless customer additions were driven by postpaid phone customer gains of 46,000, continued strong prepaid phone growth of 356,000, and an improvement in its postpaid churn rate to 0.82%. However, amid a saturated wireless market, the telecommunications carriers are finding it increasingly difficult to attract customers due to cord-cutting.

Consumers are showing a preference for OTT (over-the-top) video streaming services instead of subscribing to cable or satellite television offerings. Online streaming video services are provided by established digital rivals Netflix (NFLX), Amazon (AMZN), and Alphabet’s (GOOGL) Google. Alphabet’s YouTube has been investing more in original content to take on Netflix and Amazon, which have been spending billions on original shows and movies.

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