AT&T, GM Pair Up To Bring LTE To OnStar-Connected Vehicles
February 25, 2013

AT&T, GM Pair Up To Bring LTE To OnStar-Connected Vehicles

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

There will be countless devices and innovations shown off this week in Barcelona, Spain during this year´s Mobile World Congress (MWC) event. Yet, no device is so originally “mobile” as the automobile, and AT&T and General Motors (GM) have now teamed up to further improve Chevy vehicles as mobile devices.

Beginning in 2015, AT&T will deliver their 4G service to Chevy´s OnStar network, turning the car into a mobile “hotspot” along with the other features currently offered through GM's navigation system. AT&T will now replace Verizon as service provider for OnStar. Big Red has been charged with serving up coverage for this feature since it first rolled out in the 1990s.

“We´re making a global commitment to embed 4G LTE mobile broadband across all of our vehicles,” said Mary Chan, president of GM´s Global Connected Customer in an interview with Bloomberg.

“This is the largest commercial deployment of 4G LTE services in the auto industry,” added Chan.

The two companies have yet to announce any financial details about this partnership.

This move is widely seen as proof of AT&T´s quick response to a changing mobile market. As cell phones and smartphones have completely saturated the market, cellular service providers have had to look to other devices, such as e-readers and tablets, to continue to expand their network and compete with one another.

Amazon´s Kindle, for instance, makes use of AT&T´s network to deliver content and keep this content in sync. Now that the deal is signed, it makes perfect sense for a cellular company to want to bring connectivity to automobiles. After all, the average American spends many hours a year inside their vehicles, and according to AT&T, there´s plenty a connected car will be able to offer it´s passengers.

"The excitement is you're taking a car and turning it into a smartphone with four wheels," explained Glenn Lurie, president of emerging devices for AT&T, speaking with cnet.

In addition to handling the current OnStar services, such as calling for help in an emergency or unlocking a car door, this partnership will also turn upcoming 2015 Chevy models into Wi-Fi hotspots complete with a video streaming service, perfect for road trips with the family. Thanks to the faster speeds of AT&T´s 4G LTE, OnStar will be able to more quickly communicate with these vehicles and report any issues or upcoming maintenance. Chevy owners may one day even be able to remotely monitor their car or look-in to see if there are any possible intruders lurking about.

"Through this built-in 4G LTE connection we have the opportunity to reinvent the mobile experience inside a vehicle," said Chan in an interview with cnet. "Developers will be able to take full advantage of 4G LTE speeds as they design vehicle-specific apps, and they can pursue development knowing they'll have a broad base of potential customers as connectivity is built-in across GM brands and regions.”

AT&T will now add GM to their ongoing collection of connected cars. Big Bell already has companies such as BMW, Ford, Nissan and Tesla in their garage, deals which further prove the companies willingness to look beyond cell phones and tablets and connect the entire world.