GM, AT&T to launch 4G vehicles next month

GM says it will next month launch a new range of vehicles capable of connecting to the internet over the 4G network of AT&T.

Customers will be able to use services free of charge for a three-month period or up to a three-gigabyte limit, after which they can take out a data plan starting from $5 a month.

The 2015 Chevrolet Malibu is to the be the first LTE-equipped vehicle and will be followed by more than 30 other Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles by the end of the year, said the carmaker.

Drivers and passengers will be able to connect up to seven devices inside the vehicle using a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot, and are also set to benefit from improve access to existing OnStar safety and security services, claims GM (Detroit, MI, USA).

“Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac will be the first vehicle brands to market with 4G LTE connectivity offered on such a broad scale, and we're excited to give millions of customers an opportunity to explore the technology without paying extra for a data plan for three months or three gigabytes,” said Mary Chan, OnStar’s president. “Later this year, we will begin to offer data plans and our customers will be able to connect for as little as $5 per month.”

Customers can buy data services from GM or through AT&T (Dallas, TX, USA), if they already subscribe to the operator’s mobile services, by adding the vehicle as a device to a Mobile Share Value plan – in the same way they would if activating a tablet for data services.

The pricing appears to be very competitive when compared with the in-car LTE service being offered by Audi (Ingolstadt, Germany), whose rates work at roughly $16 per month.

Audi is also using the AT&T network, and the operator flagged a North American tie-up with Tesla (Palo Alto, CA, USA) in January this year.

The operator appears to have stolen a march on its mobile network rivals in the connected-cars area, and its contract with Audi looked to have come at the expense of number-four player T-Mobile US (Bellevue, WA, USA), which had previously provided in-car 3G connectivity services to the carmaker.

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