General Motors is teaming with wireless carrier AT&T in a wide-ranging effort that will see high-speed 4G LTE technology be offered in most of its 2015 model Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC cars and trucks. Global in scope, this new mobile broadband initiative will be launched in the U.S. and Canada starting next year with subsequent rollouts in various other world markets. Aimed to be substantially faster than any current manufacturer-provided 3G in-car connectivity, GM's new 4G LTE capability will be available to buyers on a subscription basis. So far, only Audi has shown a similar type of 4G LTE setup due for introduction on the upcoming Audi A3 model and set to work in concert with its Audi Connect system.
Announced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, this state-of-the-art, built-in 4G LTE system is being designed to transfer data up to 10 times faster than today's 3G technology. Despite being embedded, neither the automaker nor its wireless partner foresees any possibility that the technology ever will become outmoded. Able to support simultaneous voice and data connections, it also promises to enable a far greater range of potential infotainment benefits, from in-vehicle Wi-Fi hot spots that would permit rear-seat streaming video to far speedier real-time software updates and new application downloads.
GM says the 4G LTE system will build on its existing portfolio of OnStar connected services that were first introduced in its vehicles in 1996. However, Mary Chan, president, Global Connected Consumer, General Motors, was quick to add: "As we implement 4G LTE connectivity into our vehicles the most important piece we will consider is delivering this technology to our customers in a safe manner, staying focused on reducing any related distractions."
As for expanding its future utility, Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO, AT&T Mobility noted: "While our 4G LTE network will provide fast, reliable mobile broadband for GM's connected vehicles, we're also looking forward to working directly with GM researchers and engineers as well as the developer community to invent new in-vehicle applications that will take full advantage of our powerful network." Key among those potential cloud-based features would be even more advanced forms of real-time traffic and navigation. According to AT&T, its 4G LTE network is expected to reach approximately 300 million people by the end of 2014.
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