It’s a period of connectivity wars, broadband providers fight to gain property over your favorite hotspots. Up against other industries, AT&T currently leads the race, but will their new WiFi plans secure their position as number one….
This week, General Motors has officially become the first automobile manufacture to offer WiFi in its vehicles—after being announced by AT&T, they will supply OnStar subscribers with 4G-LTE connectivity speeds starting at $5.00 a month. Allowing up to 7 mobile-devices to pair up with the vehicle’s automatic WiFi system, GM assures that other than streaming music and videos, in-vehicle WiFi will allow real-time updates for navigation purposes, instead of having to wait for vehicle specific software upgrades.
“Customers using OnStar with 4G LTE can take advantage of a powerful antenna that’s stronger than that of a smartphone, along with a Wi-Fi hotspot that operates without draining a mobile device’s battery,” GM said in a statement. “That hotspot is on any time the car is on.” This built-in technology will make it more convenient for those long family road trips across the nation.
Nevertheless, GM is not the only car manufacturing company after the mobile WiFi concept:
Audi signed a similar deal with AT&T for 4G-LTE service. Tesla and Volvo did the same, but will only offer 3G WiFi. Hyundai currently signed an offer with Verizon, and Chrysler is still in debate with Sprint.
So far, AT&T has the market with the new WiFi-equiped cars set for release in early 2015. Like everything new—GM will initially offer a trial period of 3 month or 3GB of data. With users being able to log in to the car’s WiFi hotspot using a username and password, just like their at-home routers.
For those who can’t wait, third-party suppliers, such as Autonet Mobile have partnered with some vehicle manufacturers to offer in-vehicle routers, mobile software and cloud services to stream mobile apps. However, the router runs over 3G and 2.5G cellular data networks, meaning its slower and has less bandwidth than GM’s AT&T 4G-LTE service.