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AT&T teams up with SiriusXM to bring mobile services to Nissan

The carrier will power mobile connections in Nissan cars for forthcoming SiriusXM in-vehicle services.

If the future car is a smartphone on wheels, Nissans are signing up with AT&T.

AT&T has agreed to provide mobile connectivity to SiriusXM Radio for a suite of in-vehicle support services in Nissan automobiles in North America.

The telematics -- or informational telecommunications systems in road vehicles -- from SiriusXM provide such things as emergency support after an accident, stolen vehicle tracking, and roadside assistance, with additional services on the way.

It's part of a plan for SiriusXM to use the combination of satellite and cellular networks to expand features for customers.

Glenn Lurie, president of AT&T Emerging Enterprises and Partnerships Organization, said the "future car is going to be a smartphone with four wheels" and adding mobile Internet from his company with SiriusXM will enhance connectivity in the cars.

Cars with connectivity -- long crimped by the slow, structured pace of car design and production -- have been gaining momentum recently. AT&T already has a partnership to provide a 4G LTE connection to many General Motors vehicles, with apps set to arrive in the second half of the year. GM has vowed to connect most of its fleet with 4G LTE by 2014.

Last year, rival Verizon paid $612 million to acquire Hughes Telematics in an effort to expand its auto telematics business. Like AT&T, Verizon has talked up the prospects of the connected car market. Verizon already powers services, such as getting news and stock quotes through its Mbrace system, in select Mercedes Benz models.