Chevrolet announced today at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that they will be the first General Motors vehicles to offer high-speed data and smartphone connectivity running on a new OnStar 4G LTE connection network provided by AT&T.
Chevrolet will offer this connectivity as an option on the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette, Impala, Malibu and Volt starting as these models arrive in the summer of 2014.
Following the initial offering, Chevrolet will make the option available on Equinox, Silverado, Silverado HD, Spark and Spark EV.
More models and the timing for those introductions will come later this year according to the announcement.
“Chevrolet is expected to implement the broadest deployment of 4G LTE in the automotive industry,” said Alan Batey, senior vice president of Global Chevrolet. “The fact that OnStar with 4G LTE will be available in models that range from the Chevrolet Spark to the Silverado to the Corvette, is indicative of our broad commitment to deliver more value and convenience through smart technology applications. This new, purposeful technology solution will make our consumers lives easier to connect.”
Importantly, the 4G LTE rollout will add a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot to most Chevrolet vehicles, which will allow connection between personal devices (such as smartphones, laptops and tablets) and the high-speed wireless internet. The hotspot in each vehicle will accommodate multiple devices at one time.
“We know that our customers rely on being connected on a daily, if not hourly basis, and they expect to be provided with the information and content they desire with no interruptions,” said Mary Chan, president, GM’s Global Connected Consumer. “A 4G LTE hotspot that’s built into a car’s architecture will provide a more consistent and powerful Wi-Fi connection than a smartphone.”
With OnStar’s 4G LTE connection, the vehicle acts as a mobile hub, giving customers easier access to apps and services that require a high-speed cellular or data connection. The vehicle will employ a wireless connection that does not rely on a brought-in mobile device.
The range of the hotspot connection outside of the vehicle (which will be of interest to both business and recreational users) was not announced. (For example, the 2014 Ram 1500 pickup has a hotspot option available with a range of 150-feet outside the vehicle).
Collaborating with AT&T, Chevrolet says the data connection in the car will be fast – and flexible. Current AT&T customers will be able to add their vehicle to a shareable bucket of data through AT&T Mobile Share plans. All drivers can also pay for data as a standalone option.
Additional pricing and data packages for OnStar 4G LTE will be announced later in 2014.
The Chevrolet 4G LTE launch coincides with the 10th hardware generation of OnStar, a service that debuted in GM vehicles in 1996. The upgrade will allow for voice and high speed data services and enable additional services by the OnStar program.
In addition, Chevrolet says the Chevrolet MyLink will offer consumers enhancements through the embedded 4G LTE connection from the built in AppShop that will be available on select 2015 Chevrolet models.
An icon on the Chevrolet MyLink screen will allow owners to view all available apps and download them directly to the vehicle - organize, update or delete them as needed..
“The built-in 4G LTE connection will allow our vehicles to be updated with the latest software and apps,” said Chan. “This means that the driver’s vehicle infotainment systems can keep getting better after purchase as customers can continue to add on and customize their features.”
Chevrolet provided an initial list of planned apps in the announcement today that includes Vehicle Health, iHeartRadio, Priceline.com, The Weather Channel, NPR, Slacker Radio, TuneIn Radio, Cityseeker, Eventseeker, Glympse and Kaliki.