AT&T Lets Drivers Add Connected Cars to Plans for $10 a Month
AT&T Mobile Share Value plan subscribers this summer will be able to add select cars to their plans for $10 a month, the same price as a tablet.
AT&T made the announcement May 12, alongside news that GM is the latest automaker to team with it and offer drivers and passengers access to 4G LTE network speeds.
The 2015 Chevrolet Malibu will be the first LTE-equipped vehicle, followed by "more than 30 other Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles by the end of year," GM said in a May 12 statement.
The LTE-enabled GM vehicles will be able to act like a WiFi hotspot, offering connectivity to up to seven devices, as well as access to OnStar—which has evolved well beyond the emergency service that was most drivers' first experience with in-car connectivity.
"OnStar with 4G LTE brings a built-in WiFi hotspot into and around the vehicle," said the GM statement. It also has a "powerful antenna that's stronger than that of a smartphone, along with a WiFi hotspot that operates without draining a mobile device's battery. That hotspot is on any time the car is on."
That said, traditional OnStar services such as remote vehicle access and diagnostic information are also included.
For GM vehicle owners who aren't AT&T subscribers, GM has announced its own pricing for monthly and one-time access to AT&T's LTE network.
According to GM, an OnStar Basic Plan will come standard for five years in most 2015 model Chevrolet, Buick, GM and Cadillac vehicles with OnStar hardware; six months of OnStar Directions & Connections service will also come standard. Certain leasing programs, and vehicles, may extend the OnStar trial periods.
Drivers who subscribe through GM to OnStar Safe & Sound or Directions & Connections plan receive a suite of safety and security services; for $5 more a month they can receive 200MB of data—"enough to stream more than 6.5 hours of music, surf the internet for 13 hours or send more than 10,000 emails without attachments," GM said in the statement.
Monthly options go up to 5GB for $50 a month.
One-time packages (say, for a car trip) are $5 a day for 250MB. OnStar subscribers can also pay $150 for 10GB of data use over the course of a year, and non OnStar subscribers can get the same offer for $200.
OnStar data plans also offer access to content designed for in-car use, such as smartphone and tablet games, videos, apps and books for kids. In addition, the plans include a free 30-day trial of TumblebooksTV, an app offering "hundreds of read-along video-animation storybooks that provide family-friendly educational fun for the backseat."
In April, at the New York International Auto Show, AT&T announced a deal with Volvo to power its model year 2015 vehicles, which are also arriving this summer. And in January, at the Consumer Electronics Show, it announced deals with Audi and Tesla, and the creation of AT&T Drive, a connected car mobile platform, and Drive Studio, a 5,000-square-foot innovation center in Atlanta where developers and automaker can collaborate.
AT&T's plan, Glenn Lurie, president of its Emerging Enterprises and Partnerships organization, said at the time, is "to lead the future of the connected car."