Tony Camilli

Senior Product Management and Technology Professional

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GM adding AT&T LTE service to 'most' vehicles starting next year | The Verge

GM has announced this morning that it will start deploying LTE service from AT&T in its 2014 cars and trucks to deliver drivers "enhanced suite of safety, security, diagnostic and infotainment services."
Also unclear is how the service will be billed or priced: there aren't any announcements being made at this point, but AT&T's Glenn Lurie noted that low-bandwidth services (uploads of diagnostic data from the car to your dealer, for instance) could be free or billed by the manufacturer, while higher-bandwidth services could be billed directly by AT&T or even bundled in a subscriber's Mobile Share plan alongside phones and tablets.

This is an interesting announcement from GM.  Shifting OnStar from Verizon to AT&T isn't that earth shattering (although it does mean adding SIMs).  However, the use of LTE and the mention of infotainment may have broader implications.  Certainly, LTE brings in a range of infotainment options. However, mobile network technology changes much more quickly than the typical car purchase cycle.  In 5 years, when your still spry car can't connect to a presumably ubiquitous LTE-Advanced network, you may wish you had a BYO connectivity implementation like Ford or Toyota.

Billing is also an interesting question.  GSMA has been working on reprogrammable embedded SIMs for some time now.  However, that doesn't solve the problem of billing telematics traffic to one party (auto manufacturer) and infotainment traffic to another (car owner); even more complicated would be putting that infotainment traffic on a shared data plan.