May 13, 2014
GM Announces Pricing For Its 4G Hotspot On New Cars
Peter Suciu for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Earlier this year General Motors had announced that it would introduce 4G connectivity into Chevrolet Malibu line next month and by the end of the year would add the service to other models. On Monday the automaker's OnStar division announced the pricing for the service; car owners will receive a three-month trial period, and after that will pay $10 to $50 per month based on data usage.
While the 2015 Malibu will be the first 4G LTE-equipped GM vehicle to get this new connectivity, the company added that 30 other Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles would also be equipped with it as well. This is reportedly the industry's broadest deployment of 4G LTE connectivity technology and it will enable drivers to explore features including a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot that is capable of pairing up to seven devices while also providing improved access to existing OnStar safety and security services.
"Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac will be the first vehicle brands to market with 4G LTE connectivity offered on such a broad scale, and we're excited to give millions of customers an opportunity to explore the technology without paying extra for a data plan for three months or three gigabytes," said OnStar President Mary Chan in a statement. "Later this year, we will begin to offer data plans and our customers will be able to connect for as little as $5 per month."
The Wi-Fi hotspot will be active any time the car is on, and pricing will range from $5 a month for an OnStar subscriber and $10 for a non-subscriber and this will provide 200MB of data per month. The plans increase up to 5GB, which will be offered at $50 to both OnStar subscribers and non-subscribers. Customers will also have the option to make one-time data purchases, with a one day 250MB plan costing $5, while a 12-month 10GB plan will be $200.
AT&T customers will also have the option to add a connected car to their mobile share plan for an additional $10 per month. In this way the car could become just an extension of wireless devices.
"The wireless industry has grown over the years because of innovation. Now that same innovation is helping other industries grow as well," said telecommunications industry analyst Jeff Kagan. "The automotive industry is one good example. There are so many innovative ideas that are showing up in today's cars and we are just in the early innings of this new game."
While this technology will arrive first in a mid-size sedan, it could eventually trickle down to other autos.
"Innovation shows up first in high end cars, then moves to the mid level," Kagan told redOrbit. "Today we see many mid level cars offering top level innovation as well. This innovative factor in automotive is one of the strongest we have ever seen and we are still just in the very early innings."
GM also announced that the OnStar data plan subscribers would have access to special offers from content partners, including Famigo and TumblebooksTV. Famigo provides educational on-the-go entertainment for kids on smartphones and tablets, and included with the no-additional-cost Famigo Basic membership is exclusive content and child-friendly games, videos, apps and books for the duration of the vehicle’s active data subscription; while TumblebooksTV by ES3, is an app offering hundreds of read-a-long video-animation storybooks.
This could provide an alternative to DVD players in the backseat and is made possible by the wireless connectivity.
"GM is offering 4G data just like we get on our smartphones," added Kagan. "This is not important to everyone, but it is important to a growing segment of the marketplace."