Germany’s Deutsche Telekom and automaker BMW are to provide a connected-car service based on LTE and WiFi technology to Sixt, the country’s biggest car-rental company.
From summer this year, say the companies, a large proportion of BMW (Munich, Germany) cars belonging to Sixt’s (Pullach, Germany) fleet in Germany will be equipped with so-called “BMW ConnectedDrive hotspots”.
Services will be free to use for the first 12 months and Deutsche Telekom (Bonn, Germany) already has plans to make the offer available to further customer groups in the future.
The operator claims that travellers will be able to benefit in various ways from having easy access to such large amounts of data, which could be used to stream music or provide video services to passengers.
“The goal is to enable users to access large amounts of data at LTE speeds during journeys or breaks without charging it to their individual mobile communications tariff,” said Deutsche Telekom in a statement.
The hardware that will be installed in BMW cars should create a “hotspot” similar to those already available in hotels, airports and other public places, allowing anyone with a WiFi-compatible device to use services.
Meanwhile, a built-in antenna will connect the car with local wireless networks.
Deutsche Telekom has been demonstrating the use of high-speed LTE services with connected cars at this week’s CeBIT tradeshow in Hannover, claiming that drivers and passengers can go online with as many as eight WiFi devices at a time and enjoy speeds of up to 100Mbps.
“Deutsche Telekom has built up a base of 12,000 hotspots in Germany and 50,000 worldwide,” said Reinhard Clemens, the chief executive of Deutsche Telekom’s T-Systems division. “We already provide travelers in trains and planes with broadband, and now we’re adding cars to the list.”