AT&T Pivots To Israeli Innovation Amid New Era For Innovation

The Uphill Battle Towards Sustainable Technologies

In the wake of a scandal surrounding toxic cables across America, AT&T, the global telecommunications company, has embarked on a quest for new-age, sustainable technologies. As the company recovers from its stock value plummeting to a 30-year low, AT&T remains resolute in its pursuit of technological innovation. Unfazed, the company now turns its gaze to Startup Nation, hoping to bolster its research and development endeavors with advanced technologies like 5G, Fiber, AI, and Quantum computing, all of which could significantly reduce toxic waste.

AT&T, articulates the company’s commitment to transforming lives and society through innovative technologies. Speaking in Israel, they asserted, “I am passionate about the role our company plays in society, in terms of changing people’s lives and the impact we can have on people… I think the team here recognizes that opportunity and they’re really passionate about it.”

AT&T’s R&D Hub in Startup Nation

AT&T has maintained a strong presence in Israel since 2007 when it established its local R&D Centre following the acquisition of Interwise. Today, Summers manages the design, development, delivery, and support of software solutions and services across AT&T Business, AT&T Mobility & Entertainment, and AT&T Network Operations.

The recent Wall Street Journal exposé regarding telecommunication companies across the US leaving behind vast networks of toxic lead-covered cables cast a harsh spotlight on AT&T. The fallout led to the company’s stock dropping to a 30-year low, prompting it to rethink its reliance on physical cables. AT&T insists that the issue isn’t solely its own, with ‘legacy-clad’ cables being common in the US telecommunication industry. However, the revelations underscore the need to transition from physical cables to newer, wireless and cloud-based technologies.

From Toxic Legacy to Technological Revolution

On the pace of innovation in the telecommunications industry and society, Summers is clear. The industry’s rapid pace necessitates continuous innovation to remain at the forefront, drive value to customers, and prepare for technological evolution. He emphasizes the importance of consistently pushing the boundaries of possibility. AT&T’s “paper writer” strategy, which involves transcribing and tracking the company’s progress and innovation in sustainable technology, has played a crucial role in this endeavor.

The scandal has fueled the urgency for innovation at AT&T. Summers oversees services across AT&T’s mobility, video, broadband, and enterprise solutions portfolio. In Israel, the software development centre, one of the hubs, operates with 500 employees across two locations, developing products in areas such as cloud transformation, advanced networking, entertainment, and digital technologies. The strategic goal is clear: drive operational savings of $6 billion, whilst ensuring the safety of employees and customers.

The Future of Connectivity with Israeli Innovation

Summers recognizes that the key to staying at the forefront of technology evolution lies in attracting the best, brightest, and most passionate people. This is what motivates the team in Israel to continue innovating amidst this change from physical cables to cloud-based technologies. “That’s where it starts, with our people,” says Summers, emphasizing the pivotal role that Israel’s technological talent plays in pushing the company forward.

For AT&T, the goal remains clear: keeping the world connected. What started with physical cables for voice calls is now evolving into quantum, fiber, 5G, AI, and other technologies with emerging use cases. While AR and VR are still in their “formative stages,” Summers maintains that without high speed, low latency, networks, and the capabilities that fiber and 5G offer, their use cases aren’t yet feasible.

“Israel is all about the people and the people in Israel being at the forefront of technology,” Summers noted. AT&T’s significant presence in Israel affords them access to a wealth of innovation, fostering strong relationships with both large-scale companies and startups, technology innovators, and universities. These partnerships have proved fruitful over the years, creating vast opportunities for the future.

About the Author
Anthony Lucas is the Head of Product at Percepto Media Group. Anthony is passionate about technology and startup ventures in Israel. He intends to share his expertise gained from his experience of expanding and managing businesses in Israel's startup ecosystem. Feel free to get in touch at
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