Only two years ago, AT&T established itself as more than just a telecommunications provider with the acquisition of Time Warner to add content to a larger and more synergistic offering still based on connectivity.
AT&T the company is now ringing a different note which can be viewed through the prism of two significant deals: the sale of a significant stake in its pay-TV assets, including DirectTV, and the much larger deal to turn WarnerMedia into a new independent company with Découverte.
This adds to a new story told by CEO John Stankey to consumers, investors and other key stakeholders that seemed familiar for many decades: Connectivity is at the heart of what AT&T does.
So where do elements of AT & T’s public sector and public safety network fit into this larger reset?
Jason Porter, president of AT&T Public Sector and FirstNet, sees the broader changes taking place for the company as pushing these units higher on the global agenda.
“It’s a doubling, a reinvestment in the public sector and FirstNet because of our ability to differentiate ourselves and develop new logos, the affinity that we have in this space, opening doors to accounts in which we do not. hadn’t been for a long time. time, ”Porter told me.
AT&T ranks 23rd in the 2021 Washington Tech Top 100, down five spots from the previous year and on roughly $ 1.8 billion in prime contracts.
The public sector also suffered a similar partial reset. In April, AT&T finalized the sale of its former defense IT professional services business to Tyto Athene. But the cord is not completely cut as the two companies are already collaborating on opportunities of mutual interest.
Jill Singer, AT & T’s vice president of defense and national security for the public sector, said these partnerships would be looked at in two ways depending on what makes sense in the individual situation.
“For areas where AT&T could be first on something like a DOD (Department of Defense) 5G initiative or an IT as a service enterprise initiative in defense, where we will join Tyto and they will be with us to provide those capabilities, ”Singer told me.
The reverse is also true, where AT&T is part of the team led by Tyto Athene.
“(If) this is a hefty opportunity focused on professional services in defense, we would consider Tyto to be a prime potential for us, where we could deliver our core connectivity and technology solutions. tip, and associate it with Tyto as a professional services arm thereof, ”added Singer.
Back in the days when AT&T was also a media company, this sector was one of the three pillars of its corporate level strategy. Tech and telecommunications were the other two, but as Porter hinted earlier, they now take more precedence given AT&T’s master reset.
But AT & T’s public sector store can still be widely seen through a three-pronged strategy: the government-wide enterprise infrastructure solutions vehicle, the FirstNet national public safety network, and the 5G revolution. In progress.
Currently in fourth year, EIS is the way for federal agencies to take their telecommunications infrastructure to the next generation. Data from Deltek shows that AT&T generated roughly $ 158 million in order spend and won nearly three dozen fair trade opportunities it bid on.
Most of the advertised awards are given to civilian agencies, but Singer said the DOD is also an EIS user and provides opportunities to acquire mostly unclassified services and wireline solutions. Acquisitions focused on wireless solutions usually go through other contracts, she said.
Three of the EIS victories Porter highlighted as important to AT&T were in the departments of Treasury, Transportation, and Homeland Security, among others.
Here again, Porter highlighted AT & T’s enterprise-level approach as an important reason behind the EIS award series.
“We invested $ 110 billion in our wireless and wireline networks from 2016 to 2020, so now our public sector and FirstNet customers have the opportunity to take advantage of this investment, these technological advancements,” Porter said.
Then there is this FirstNet network as the second part of what AT&T does in the public sector and public safety. More than 16,000 agencies and organizations subscribe to FirstNet, which means more than 2.2 million connections across the United States over nearly 2.7 million square miles.
FirstNet is now “over 90% complete” on construction nationwide at the end of the first quarter, said Porter, who he said is “about a year ahead of schedule for this construction.”
Stream number three is the 5G revolution underway both in the consumer market – where AT&T has this capacity in 14,000 towns and cities – and in the public sector.
The heart of AT & T’s 5G push in the public sector is how the Department of Defense seeks to operationalize this network architecture.
Singer cited smart warehousing, infrastructure operations, and augmented prototyping as some of DOD’s main areas of focus. She said the intelligence and national security community is also taking a close look at 5G, albeit understandably under a different conception.
“We’re not yet going to see a smart compound happen for a ranked client,” Singer said. “But they are very interested in understanding 5G technology, advanced features, safety, speed and increased performance as they prepare for their use of 5G.”
Beyond the simple use of 5G, this and other related technologies in the public sector have a direct correlation with what is happening in the mainstream / commercial market and inform these two elements of AT&T as Porter the sees.
“We are taking the lessons learned from our experiences with DOD to inform our business roadmaps as well,” Porter said. “It really is a great compromise and shows the importance of being in the public sector and being a leader in this space.
(A future episode of Project 38 will feature Jason Porter and Jill Singer on how AT&T Public Sector is tapping into what the business / consumer side is working on, the overall business network investment model, and the Future of Work. Fair warning: We started our conversation with and delved into topic number three, in part given Singer’s career in government before industry which included leadership roles in the intelligence community.)