The car has become the latest mobile hotspot, and automakers across the globe are working to make the car a data hub both for the vehicle itself and built-in apps and services, as well as a connectivity hub for peripheral mobile devices. General Motors was among the pioneers of the concept of the connected car, launching OnStar in 1996. Initially resistant to the industry trend of Bluetooth connectivity to portable mobile devices, instead encouraging customers to use the built-in OnStar telephony services, GM’s belief in built-in connectivity seems finally vindicated by the latest trend. To make the prospect of the connected car even more attractive to customers, it will allow buyers of OnStar 4G LTE-equipped cars to add the vehicles to their existing AT&T data plans. Non-AT&T customers can pay for the service separately.
In-car connectivity has lately come full-circle, with GM’s built-in OnStar connectivity initially seeming out-of-step with other manufacturers’ efforts to use existing smartphone connectivity, and integrate it with the vehicle. Now, built-in vehicle data connectivity is among the hottest trends in the industry, and with more than a decade of experience, GM will initially roll out 4G LTE connectivity in Chevrolet vehicles, with other GM models to follow.
Prior to OnStar’s partnership with AT&T, the long-time data and telephony provider to OnStar was Verizon. It’s unknown how this new partnership with AT&T will affect the legacy OnStar customers and older vehicles utilizing Verizon services. Former GM CEO Ed Whitacre was also CEO of AT&T, which was acquired by SBC Communications in 2005, which Whitacre also chaired from 1988.
Source: General Motors