Chevys Become Wi-Fi Hotspots; Unlimited Data, $20 A Month

The concept of ‘connected cars’ is starting to get more real.

At CES in Las Vegas three years ago, General Motors executives, with the help of two cars on stage and one in the back of the room, demonstrated how they expected consumers would be using technology inside their vehicles.

At that mega press event, GM announced a partnership with AT&T, so that all future Chevys would be shipped with networking technology included in the car, just as was installed in the cars on stage.

At the time, GM and AT&T conceptually viewed the car as another potential mobile device on the network, as I wrote about at the time (CES & The Connected Car For Commerce).

Since that year, GM says it has sold more than 3 million OnStar 4G LTE-connected vehicles, more of that type of connected vehicle than any other automaker.

Just last year, Chevy owners used more than 4 million gigabytes of data, 200% more than the year before. For perspective, that means Chevrolet owners and passengers streamed the equivalent of more than 17 million hours of video.

Now it’s about to get more interesting.

Effective immediately, Chevy owners now can get an unlimited amount of data through their car for $20 a month.

This means that anyone driving or riding in a connected Chevy can tap into what effectively becomes a moving, high-speed Wi-Fi hotspot.

This model is just in time for the coming flood of additional screens in cars, which then could be linked to a car’s connectivity, so that movies could be streamed in the backseat, music in the front, or a carload of kids could surf the Web.

Like many mobile data plans, there’s a slight caveat to what the word ‘unlimited’ means. The amount of data available technically is unlimited, but an OnStar advisor told me that after 22 gigabytes are used, the high speed is throttled to not-so-high speed. (For context, Cisco estimated average mobile usage to be around 4 gigabytes a month.)

Other carmakers are likely to follow GM’s lead, which would translate into a new dimension of mobile Wi-Fi connectivity, no smartphone cell plan required.

This is a game-changer.


3 comments about "Chevys Become Wi-Fi Hotspots; Unlimited Data, $20 A Month".
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  1. R MARK REASBECK from www.USAonly.US , March 6, 2017 at 8:16 p.m.

    "This is a game-changer." ??????

    What game is changing?  Somewhere in the bowels of technologists, they believe that all people need  to have some sort of screen in their face 24/7. making the car a "hot-spot" so kids "can watch movies" surf the net" and Listen to music" a GAME CHANGER?
    it's more of the same.  Keep the human race dumbed down and  disconnected by cramming them with "data".
    Paula, you are correct, but for that money, your car can deduct the money from your bank account to makes it's own payment.  Until that fateful day when the hackers steal all your data from your $20 exposed appendage called your car.   But people aren't smart enough to see all these unintended traps and will continue to suck up this technology as progress, dragging their knuckles as they move forward.

  2. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin replied, March 6, 2017 at 8:22 p.m.

    Thanks for your comments, Mark. The point is that unlimited data as part of the auto can transform what is done in and from that vehicle without the need for a phone.

  3. R MARK REASBECK from www.USAonly.US , March 7, 2017 at 3:41 p.m.

    No matter how you package it, it's still DISTRACTION, AS A LIFESTYLE.

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