March 11, 2014
Audi And AT&T To Offer 4G LTE Connection In Cars
Peter Suciu for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
On Monday, automaker Audi of America and mobile phone carrier AT&T announced new data plans for the all-new 2014 Audi A3 sedan, which will debut this month. Under this partnership the two companies will provide the first-ever in-vehicle 4G LTE data connection in North America, with plans starting at $99 for a six-month plan and $499 for a 30-month plan.
Each of these will be a limited data plan; the six-month plan will include five gigabytes of data, while the 30-month plan will offer 30GB. All Audi A3 sedans equipped with Audi Connect will also receive a free six-month trial period.
This will provide drivers with an infotainment system that could be used in similar ways to a smartphone, and therefore reduce the driver’s need to look at their mobile device. This technology can be used by a driver to read news headlines, offer picture navigation, track social media services including Facebook and Twitter for the driver, and connect drivers with more than 7,000 Web radio stations. It can also provide alerts to personalized RSS news feeds.
Audi Connect, which the company calls an on-board source for information, can also provide drivers with information on traffic, weather and directions. It utilizes Google Earth satellite imagery, Google Voice local search and provides a high-speed Wi-Fi hotspot for up to eight devices.
“Having the choice of two data plans gives the consumer the opportunity to choose a contract that works best for their lifestyle and allows them to maintain connectivity in the vehicle for an extended period of time,” said Scott Keogh, President, Audi of America, via a statement. “The new AT&T data plans with 4G LTE connectivity will allow Audi drivers to enjoy seamless navigation, streaming and high-speed access to the Internet.”
Audi also noted that previous experience with 3G+ Audi connect owners had shown that the owners preferred either a six-month or a 30-month term. Audi sees that these plans best accommodate the consumer’s typical usage, and said that the plans are based off typical usage in Audi vehicles.
Consumers will be sent alerts if they near the data plan limit.
Audi will become the first automaker to offer a Mobile Share data plan option to AT&T wireless customers. AT&T debuted its Mobile Share Value plans in December. Audi highlighted its close partnership with AT&T at this past January’s CES.
“We’re not just a network to our connected car partners,” Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of AT&T Mobility, said during Audi’s keynote address at CES. “AT&T Drive is a solution that we can take to automakers like Audi so they can be innovative but still differentiate. We’ve got all the tools that an auto maker needs to create an awesome connected car experience. Most important, we’re flexible.”
Audi will roll out 4G LTE capabilities across its new and refreshed models as these come to the market, beginning with the A3 line. The AT&T 4G LTE option will be available in select markets at launch.
Some questions do remain. Ubergizmo noted, “data is not renewed monthly, but it stretches over the course of the plan, meaning that f [sic] you blow through 5GB in the first two months, you’d be out of luck.”