Frontier Communications yesterday announced an agreement that will offer Frontier customers a broad assortment of AT&T smartphones and access to its mobile broadband network.

"Wireless is a fundamental communications requirement, and we're thrilled Frontier has chosen AT&T as its provider of mobility solutions," said Glenn Lurie, president of emerging devices, resale and partnerships for AT&T, in a statement. "Frontier customers will have access to a wide variety of AT&T smartphones, tablets and applications, along with our mobile broadband network."

AT&T Mobility and Frontier plan to conduct a trial of the offering in the first half of 2012; once operational processes are complete, the offering will be available throughout Frontier's nationwide footprint.

Frontier customers who subscribe to AT&T's wireless services will have access to AT&T's more than 29,000 Wi-Fi hotspots in the United States. Frontier's broadband, voice and Internet services will continue to be supported by the company's locally-based technicians.

Industry analyst Jeff Kagan says that if done right, this could be a big success for Frontier. But he also notes that many have failed in this space, pointing out that Cox, Time Warner, Qwest and Comcast have all abandoned their wireless offerings.

"It depends how well Frontier markets their wireless service," Kagan said in comments today. "They don't have to own or operate the service. They are reselling AT&T Mobility so that hard part is done."

Kagan suggests that Frontier must market and advertise wireless as a separate service that also works in conjunction with their landline service if the customer wants that. "But most customers don't want that," Kagan says, "as we have learned watching other companies fail in their wireless efforts."

Frontier Communications currently offers voice, Internet, satellite video, wireless Internet data access, data security solutions, bundled offerings, specialized bundles for small businesses and home offices, and business communications for medium and large businesses in 27 states.