AT&T Inc. (T), the second largest U.S. wireless carrier, is expanding its mobile-security service for businesses and will announce a similar push targeting consumers next year.
AT&T said today it now has a range of security services for businesses such as Toggle, a so-called partition software for companies that lets users switch between secure applications for work and non-work features like Facebook and games for personal use on one phone.
With industry wireless-subscriber growth slowing now that nearly every adult has a mobile phone, Dallas-based AT&T is trying to expand into new markets like home security, mobile- device management and mobile-wallet services to drum up sales growth. AT&T’s mobile-security effort comes as employers move away from issuing workers devices like Research In Motion Ltd. (RIMM) BlackBerry smartphones and try to adapt policies for handsets and tablets that employees bring to work.
“We have the advantage of starting with a tier one infrastructure,” said AT&T Chief Security Officer Ed Amoroso, in an interview. Mobile security for businesses is the first step of a two-phase plan, the next stage is security services for consumers, Amoroso said.
AT&T hasn’t announced any specific timing on its consumer mobile security service. The product will likely debut in the first half of next year, according to Fletcher Cook, an AT&T spokesman.
“This is a good spot for carriers to get involved and provide a comprehensive solution,” said Kathryn Weldon, an analyst with Current Analysis Inc. in Sterling, Virginia.
Mobile as a segment of enterprise software spending is growing at an average annual rate of 18.4 percent, according to researcher IDC. Over half the companies surveyed by Current Analysis say they plan to seek outside help on mobile security.
AT&T joins a growing group of companies focused on mobile- device support and security. In addition to RIM, Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), Sybase Inc., Accenture PLC (ACN), MobileIron Inc. are all angling for a piece of the market.
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