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AT&T Inc. (T - Analyst Report) – the second-largest telecom operator in the U.S after Verizon Communication Inc. (VZ - Analyst Report) – started a pilot test by installing solar powered handset chargers near parks in New York.

The new value-added service is in response to the devastating storm, Sandy, as after the storm most U.S. households remained powerless. Thus, these chargers will allow New York citizens to stay connected in spite of power cuts.

In order to offer such an innovative service, AT&T entered into a partnership with solar technology firm, Goal Zero, and Brooklyn-based design company, Pensa.

These solar chargers will also be effective at night as they are provided with monocrystalline solar panels, which will gather sunlight in order to recharge internal batteries.

Initially, AT&T will install nearly 25 AT&T Street Charge solar mobile charging components across five areas in New York. Gradually, the company will expand the project.

However, the concept of public solar chargers is not new as it is used in many countries. Moreover, AT&T’s solar charging facility coupled with its public Wi-Fi service will not only attract more customers but will also help it to strengthen its position against large telecom players like Sprint Nextel Corp. (S - Analyst Report) and T-Mobile US, Inc. (TMUS - Snapshot Report) .

A few days back, AT&T enhanced its weather emergency service by implementing different measures to deal with devastating storms and providing accurate information to its subscribers.

Such measures will allow AT&T customers to stay connected during natural disasters and will also aid the recovery process. At present, the program is being implemented in Alabama.

Currently, AT&T Inc. has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). 

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