AT&T’s Glenn Lurie pushes back on criticism of company’s moves outside wireless

While a portion of T-Mobile’s presentation on its own announcements Thursday centered around the company’s CEO John Legere taking AT&T to task for not focusing on wireless, AT&T isn’t taking the bait, at least for now.

In an interview on Thursday during Digital Trends’ coverage of CES 2017, AT&T Mobility president Glenn Lurie stressed that while 2016 was a “year of change for us,” the nation’s second largest wireless provider will continue to focus on entertainment.

“I respect all my competitors,” Lurie said, responding to a question on who he saw as his biggest competitors in the mobile space. “However, we’re not just a wireless company.” Indeed that is the truth, considering the company’s completed acquisition of DirecTV in 2015, and its moves to bring Time Warner Cable into the fold in 2016.

Stressing “entertainment first, connectivity second” several times during the interview, Lurie said he believes strongly in its DirecTV Now product and sees it as the future of entertainment. While he agreed with the statement that the service is targeted more toward the millennial consumer, which may be getting as much as half of all its video content via streaming, Lurie argued that services like DirecTV Now are attractive to just about anyone.

“It’s very well priced,” he argued. “You want content to come with you,” pointing to our ever increasing appetite for streaming content.

Outside of Lurie’s comments, he remained fairly tight-lipped on where he sees either the industry or AT&T itself over the next five to 10 years. He did say he believes products and services will revolve around making us more “connected” and pointed back to AT&T’s work outside of wireless as a response to that expectation.

According to Lurie, AT&T is the top provider of in-car connectivity, with more than 10 million cars on its network across some 22 brands. He also committed the company to continuing work in the Internet of Things, a space where competitor T-Mobile is investing quite a bit of time.

Digital Trends is live all week at CES 2017 in Las Vegas. Check out our continuing coverage live on YouTube, Facebook, #DTces, and DigitalTrends.com/ces/.

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