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GM announces broad global strategy for embedded 4G LTE; first rollout in 2014 with MY2015 vehicles; AT&T first carrier partner

The demo screen of a research Cadillac ATS equipped with 4G LTE connectivity, first shown at the 2013 Mobile World Congress. Click to enlarge.

At the 2013 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, General Motors announced a broad global strategy to deliver a new generation of connected cars and trucks with embedded 4G LTE mobile broadband, the largest announced deployment of the technology in the automotive industry to date.

Most MY2015 Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac models available in 2014 in the US and Canada will be the first GM cars, trucks and crossovers with embedded 4G LTE; connectivity will be delivered through AT&T. GM will announce more carrier and supplier relationships in coming months to expand 4G LTE capabilities in markets around the globe. (In January, Audi unveiled the 2013 Audi A3 with 4G LTE wireless connectivity, and will be offering a fully integrated LTE link for Audi connect services in the A3 this year. Earlier post.)

With mobile data speeds up to 10 times faster than 3G technologies, increased responsiveness, and the ability to support simultaneous voice and data connections, a built-in 4G LTE connection will enable advances in a wide range of in-vehicle communications and entertainment capabilities, GM said.

Over time, applications of widespread in-vehicle 4G LTE connectivity will enable vehicles to interact directly with their environment to enhance safety, efficiency and convenience for drivers and passengers, GM noted. 4G LTE will make services such as real-time traffic and navigation updates possible, pulling information from the cloud.

Expected shorter-term benefits for GM customers could include in-vehicle Wi-Fi hot spots, new infotainment options such as streaming video entertainment in the back seat, real-time updates and faster application downloads. These enhancements build on OnStar’s existing portfolio of built-in connected services, first introduced in GM vehicles in 1996.

The built-in 4G LTE structure is specifically designed for in-vehicle use as it is integrated into the vehicle’s electrical system and includes an external antenna to maximize coverage and connectivity. Customers will not be required to have a smartphone to use connected services.

In addition to allowing consumers to bring in and connect to personal mobile devices, the vehicle will also act as its own mobile device, enabling embedded vehicle capabilities. Turning this vision into a reality starts with enabling fast, reliable and responsive connectivity within the vehicle. Through this built-in 4G LTE connection we have the opportunity to reinvent the mobile experience inside a vehicle.

—Mary Chan, president, Global Connected Consumer, General Motors

GM and AT&T will immediately begin work to develop 4G LTE connectivity for GM vehicles in the US and Canada. AT&T’s 4G LTE network is expected to reach 300 million people in the US by the end of 2014, and its network performance and deployment strategy have been lauded by industry analysts and other experts.

GM and AT&T will also work together on a broad ecosystem focused on developing new communication applications to enhance the driving and riding experience.

GM said that the widespread integration of 4G LTE into GM vehicles will enhance its recently announced application framework and third-party developers program. In January, GM introduced a new set of vehicle application programming interfaces (APIs), which enable developers to build on GM vehicles’ infotainment systems, as well as a new flexible application framework that will allow drivers to add apps and infotainment features to their vehicles after purchase. (Earlier post.)

As 4G LTE networks expand globally, GM plans to work with additional carrier partners to enable connectivity in other brands such as Opel and Vauxhall. Additional details on availability and service options will be announced later.



Oh, great! Distracted driving is moving up to a whole new level.


My current phone bill is high enough. THis pains me to see this coming. I just don't want to pay for it.

Sean Prophet

OK, can we get some *more* Luddite comments here, please? Does anyone not realize that car connectivity is here to stay, and development of driver-assist systems are well underway to take care of 'distracted driving" permanently? And that if you have OnStar or any of its competitors, your car already has its own cell-connection? And that if you don't want to pay for the service you can almost certainly cancel it?

But no, let's play "future freakout!!"


I've been rammed twice by distracted drivers. The first failed to notice the stop sign he was approaching (or even the intersection) and ran through the intersection at full speed. Smashing into the back side of my car (fortunately not the middle), he spun my car around, forcing it across oncoming traffic and over a curb. I don't think we're going to see any driver-assist systems in cars any time soon that will detect stop signs and apply the brakes.

The second ramming was by a woman who was adjusting her stereo and neglected to notice me stopped at a red light in front of her. I know there are systems coming on line that can detect obstacles ahead and apply the brakes, but will they be mandated standard equipment for all vehicles, that everyone will pay for? By model year 2015?

Sean Prophet

Out of the 5 or 6 car accidents I've been in, only one was my fault. I don't really care why the other people made their mistakes. Bad driving is not a tech problem, it's a human problem. But it IS a problem that will largely be solved by tech.


Lets see Internet, malware, push technologies ie. apps (Find cheapest gas, Sale on items right now near you.) are going to make a car safer?
I drive the 405, 53 miles one way every day where drivers dont understand merging means leave room to let another car onto the freeway. Maybe there will be a app.

Does anyone not realize that car connectivity is here to stay, and development of driver-assist systems are well underway to take care of 'distracted driving" permanently?

Total autonomous cars, sleep until you arrive at your designation the car will wake you up.

That is a comforting thought.

Sean Prophet

I don't care whether anyone finds it "comforting" or not, autonomous cars will not just be *available,* at a certain point they will be *mandatory.*

Think about the billions of wasted hours sitting in traffic and the tens of thousands of needless deaths every year which will be prevented by vehicle automation. You won't be able to afford the insurance rates you would have to pay to be allowed to endanger others by actually *driving* your own car.


If you already have an AT&T plan then this just adds another device (the car) to it, should be much cheaper than getting Onstar Premium.. and then you could Skype naked with your significant other as you drive :).. or if you are really anal you could monitor your kids when they borrow the keys


@ I don't care whether anyone finds it "comforting" or not, autonomous cars will not just be *available,* at a certain point they will be *mandatory.*

Since when did this world become a dictatorship and are you buy everyone a car.

Wake up!!! In Garmin we Trust. GPS is purposely made not accurate by the government, How many updates will an autonomous vehicle require to keep all safe headed in the right direction during road work WAKE UP!!!

Teaching Humans to drive properly and respect the rules of the road, learn how their vehicle handles in all road conditions would make this whole discussion go away. While creating real jobs with meaning.

Just Imagine when you’re driving down the road and everyone has comparable driving skills so when it rains, snows, going downhill, going uphill, hey how about this one: stopping at a stop sign, then all can act like license drivers.

WOW what a concept..


Notwithstanding the safety implications, this is mostly a cash grab by GM and AT&T.

All modern smartphones can share their data connection through Bluetooth. This lock-in means that you will need to send AT&T some money, even if you already subscribe to a data plan.
If you don't have a data plan for your phone, you probably don't want one for your car.

In other words, GM wants you to pay a monthly fee keep basic car functionality working. They don't care that you already gave them a huge chunk of cash for the car, or that you can get the same data connection cheaper on the open market.

I can smell a class action lawsuit!


LanceK...teaching 7+ billion people to drive with due regards to other users safety is a huge task that nobody will manage to do.

Over 36,000 fatalities a year on USA's roads are 82% due to risky driving. Worldwide, it is evaluated at close to 200,000/year. Severe injuries are about 5x higher. Only WWI and WWII did better in the same time frame.

More drivers assistance and eventually fully autonomous vehicles are essential to put an end to this on-going mass killing.

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