Verizon Joins Automakers in Promoting Net-Connected Cars

Verizon Wireless, the largest U.S. mobile-phone carrier, is teaming up with Toyota Motor Corp. (TM), Honda Motor Co. and other automakers to promote the use of fourth-generation wireless Internet features in cars.

The 4G Venture Forum for Connected Cars will encourage manufacturers, suppliers, device makers and other companies to use the new long-term evolution wireless standard, which allows for faster Internet connections, Verizon said today in a statement. The group also includes Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp.

Verizon is trying to capitalize on its LTE network, which is more extensive than those of AT&T Inc. (T) and Sprint Nextel Corp. The company also wants to tighten ties with the auto industry as cars get more wireless features for communications, safety and Internet access. Verizon is under pressure to find new sources of growth amid saturation in the market for phones.

Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ), the co-owner of Verizon Wireless, announced plans last week to buy Hughes Telematics Inc. (HUTC) for $612 million in cash, vaulting the telephone company deeper into the automotive-technology market.

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