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AT&T: Adding Your Car to Mobile Share Plan 'Makes Sense'
by Karl Bode 04:31PM Tuesday Jul 23 2013
AT&T, like most wireless companies, is engaged in a massive push to have LTE connections embedded in every automobile. The problem, historically, has been that neither phone companies or car makers are very good at developing slick and innovative in car GUIs, and an ever-increasing number of customers already have an LTE modem in the pocket. Still, AT&T's ambition on this front remains strong, and they've recently struck deals with both GM/Onstar and Nissan to ensure AT&T plays a starring role in your car's broadband connectivity.

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Speaking about this push, AT&T's Glenn Lurie this week insisted that it makes "perfect sense" to simply add the automobile to your existing shared data plan:
I've been asked numerous times, "Well, is this just going to be another device that you'll add to a Mobile Share [shared-data] plan like you add a smartphone or you add a tablet." My answer is that we haven't made any definitive announcements. But I think that's a pretty good example of what makes really good sense for that customer to be able to have their car eating out of the same bucket that they have for their smartphone or anything else because we view the car as just another device in your life.
Of course it makes sense to AT&T, given that all of your in-car entertainment and possibly safety network usage would then contribute to your overall household data allotment, pushing you ever closer toward the $15 per gigabyte AT&T charges if you go over your limits. You'd like to think that necessary security or software updates and other features wouldn't count against your data limits, but given this is AT&T, it's fairly clear what direction they're headed with this.

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I'd be quite content with car manufactures making smartphones able to be fully integrated. Then you just use your smart phones data plan. Does that make sense?

East Amherst, NY

Re: intergration

Let them start with getting Bluetooth to work first, or a fix within say 3 years or less, or even at all
My nav people want like $400 to update the maps. I can buy like 3 garmins w/ lifetime traffic for that price.
Somehow I dont see this being cheap, updated, or useful.
I like my cars dumb, thanks. Lots less to break.
Why replicate in an in-dash system that you can get from say the computing power of a circa 2010 phone.

No good can come of the embedded wifi access point in your car. What do they think kids will use that for? I wouldnt want to see that bill.



Re: intergration

Bluetooth: No kidding. Just brought my Chevy back to the dealer today, waited 3 hours for them to update the Bluetooth software (I even gave them the GM bulletin number so they didn't have to look it up) so it is finally usable with my iPhone 5. $41k car, and they have trouble getting a simple Bluetooth connection to work with one of the most popular phones out there.

GM/AT&T are out of their minds if they think I'm going to add AT&T service on top of my Verizon Wireless service. Ain't gonna happen kids!!

My iPhone app to unlock doors, remote start, etc, RARELY work as it is, even though I have good Verizon coverage sitting right next to the car.

BTW: I was under the impression that OnStar was currently Verizon. Now they are switching to AT&T? Maybe GM could then put US Cellular radios in another line of their cars just to make their systems more of a cluster F.
Sandy, UT
Make sense? For who is the real question.

Of course it makes sense that we'd have a simple and universal interface from our phones to our vehicles. This tech has been about for, what... 10 years. I think a 5 year old could make this happen these days. Of course it won't happen as the car manufactures and phone carriers would not make any money from this simply feature.

Then throw in GM's deal with Onstar and you have even more issues.

I'm sure if AT&T is pushin a connection it will include a $20/month "car" fee.

Pittsburgh, PA

1 recommendation

Two desolate areas

Copy machines and Car panel UIs.

Two of the most horrible examples of interface design known to mankind.



Re: Two desolate areas

Your car will use Gigabytes Per Mile or Kilometer.... Another ****ing Money Making Scheme for Greedy Pig ISP...

Re: Two desolate areas

How dare for-profit companies strategize to make as much money as legally possible. Shame on them

Sherman, TX

No thanks

Yeah AT&T because I totally want you to be able to sell the gps coords of every place that I've ever been to without my consent.

Miami, FL
·Comcast Business..

Re: No thanks

If you have Onstar or Bluelink then this functionality already exists if they are doing such a thing which probably they are then the hardware already supports it and it's part of the telematics system built into the car. The same way black boxes record information of speed, seat belt usage, and driving patterns. With a data connection this could be made unlimited while on the users dime.

Tuscaloosa, AL

What for?

I'm no Luddite, but I have to question what all this connectivity is supposed to bring us. Until cars drive themselves (and that is coming), a driver's responsibility is to drive the damn car, not to surf the Internet, send IM's, etc. Sure, these systems can offer things like OnStar, but we already have that, and I don't know a single person who uses it. GPS? As another poster said, a standalone unit is easier and cheaper to manage. Who cares if it isn't connected? If I need that, Google Navigation on my phone works beautifully.

Drivers are distracted enough; they don't need another data-sucking distraction.


Buffalo, NY

Re: What for?

My car already has internet access. Its called my fricken phone! These companies are out of their minds. I pay for two internet services. I require one connection to my home to serve all my PCs and consoles etc....and one for my phone when I'm out that also serves my tablet. Done! Don't like it? Too braking bad.
Streaming music? Realtime traffic/map updates and rerouting based on congestion and construction? Backseat entertainment? Handsfree communication? Emergency response? And the list can go on.

Tuscaloosa, AL
For traffic, you can already get that. Garmin uses several technologies, one of which streams the data via HD Radio-enabled stations. And it actually works.

And don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that in-car systems can't do all the things you mentioned. They certainly can, but many of these things are data intensive and will blow the lid off most people's caps in very short order. And with streaming audio, can you imagine the distraction caused as a driver's audio cuts out, either because the stream quit or their wireless connection dropped? They're going to be fiddling around, trying to find a new stream, when they should be focused on driving. And if the kids' backseat entertainment system quits because the connection was lost, the whining will be deafening.

Of course, a couple of solutions just occurred to me. Place the controls for the system on the far right of the passenger side of the car, where the dash meets the passenger door. That way, the driver can't reach them while driving. Either a passenger needs to be in the car, or the driver will have to pull over to operate them. Another solution would be for the control panel to be connected to a sensor in the passenger seat. If there's someone sitting there, the panel will work when the car is in motion. If, however, the seat is empty, the panel will only work when the car is stopped.


Rosston, TX

But No Option Location Opt-Out

Watch...there will be a mouse-print, below-the-line disclaimer you agree to location tracking.


cyber gutter

track you all over

We are all sims in a psychotic game of corporate profits over-riding privacy laws.

I remember the good old days before all these dang-blasted wifi cars.
We used the damn horn to show our displeasure at other drivers. Oh and occasionally a middle finger or engine rev on their tail feathers.
Now damn cars gotta talk to each other so they can feel at peace with one another as they careen down the road narrowly avoid that pothole or texting pedestrian.


I dream of a World where chickens can cross the road without their motives being questioned

Dallas, TX


Your device updates will be required to use your Data connection, just like Verizon's data usage app used to live update on screen without user interaction, and now requires you open the app to update it, all this just to get people to accidentally spend that extra $15, thankfully I'm grandfathered unlimited.... But with everything going on I'm thinking about just saying screw it and dropping down to a dumb phone.... I mean eventually they're going to say probably around 6G that you MUST go to family shared, otherwise you completely lose your data connection if you don't have a device, and even if you pay full price for the device you still can't change your phone over without going to limited, which is total crap.....

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning. -Albert Einstein