With Chrysler Deal, Sprint Aims to Rev Up Its Car Tech Business

Although it is coming from behind when it comes to connecting cars to a cellular network, Sprint is looking to speed past its competitors.

With a deal announced Monday, Sprint will not only be the network provider for Chrysler’s Uconnect system, but also the system integrator that puts the pieces together.

Today, just a low single-digit percentage of cars are connected to a network, but Campbell said that figure is expected to grow to 90 percent by 2020.

“Now is a good time to get in,” Campbell said.

Beyond its work with Chrysler, Sprint is hoping to create a new in-car business under the Velocity brand.

“This platform is scalable and we are excited about working with other (car makers),” said Sprint VP Mike Bray.

Historically, it has been rivals such as ATT and Verizon that have been powering services such as OnStar.

“We want our fair share of those 250 million cars to run on the Sprint network,” Sprint executive Peter Campbell said Monday.

The Uconnect will show up first on the Dodge Ram truck in September and the Viper the following month. But the effort has been in the works for about two years, Sprint said.

The company is working to provide a variety of services to Chrysler, from safety and live navigation to in-car Wi-Fi. Some services will be included with the car purchase price for a time, while others will be sold on an a la carte basis.

AllThingsD is in Sprint’s hometown of Overland Park, Kan., for two days of meetings. Stay tuned for more coverage of our visit.

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