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AT&T Wireless to ride with DaimlerChrysler

The automaker announces that it has selected the wireless communications company to provide voice and data services in its Chrysler vehicles in the United States.

Automaker DaimlerChrysler announced Wednesday that it has selected AT&T Wireless to provide voice and data services in its Chrysler vehicles in the United States.

Telematics--the use of wireless and satellite communications devices in cars--is a service that automakers are increasingly offering to consumers. It can include the ability to receive roadside emergency assistance, hands-free cellular telephone calls and help with road directions--and even trade stocks.

The advanced telecommunications services offer another source of revenue to carmakers beyond the initial sale, financing fees and maintenance charges.

Financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed.

Although DaimlerChrysler offers telematics in its Mercedes-Benz line, it is well behind the curve on its U.S. line of cars. General Motors is on cruise control with about 800,000 people subscribing to OnStar--a system found in roughly one out of every four GM vehicles. Other automakers, such as Toyota's Lexus and Honda's Acura, have signed deals with OnStar, which debuted about three years ago as an option on Cadillac luxury sedans.

Last year, GM's OnStar unit struck an alliance with Motorola to develop and manufacture wireless devices for cars.

DaimlerChrysler said Wednesday's alliance reflects the company's strategy to align itself with specialized partners, rather than only attempting internal technology development.

Chrysler vehicles equipped with telematics may hit the road as soon as the end of the year, the carmaker said.