LIVE FROM CES 2014: General Motors tonight unveiled plans to bring 4G connectivity to ten Chevrolet models in the US by the middle of this year, offering LTE technology in a broad range of cars.
“This technology isn’t just for the rich and famous, it’s for the people,” commented Alan Batey, senior vice president of Global Chevrolet.
The enhanced OnStar service (OnStar with 4G) will be an optional extra in the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette, Impala, Malibu and Volt. OnStar with 4G will then follow in other models, including the Equinox, Silverado, Silverado HD, Spark and Spark EV. In the Canadian market, OnStar with 4G LTE will be introduced on the Chevrolet Trax as well. “The majority of the 2015 Chevrolet lineup in the US and Canada will have a 4G LTE connection built-in at vehicle launch,” added Batey. More models will be announced later this year.
The car manufacturer is teaming with mobile operator AT&T to power the service, which will provide 4G connectivity in-car to up to 7 separate devices.
“We are dedicated to working with OnStar. We share the same vision for the connected car,” claimed Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of AT&T Mobility. “The connected car is about to get supercharged.”
Pricing details for the new service were not disclosed, with Chevrolet only stating that 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.
The car manufacturer is keen to attract developers to the OnStar 4G service and is to set up its own Chevrolet AppShop. “We want people to be able to customise their car,” said Batey. “My focus is to make our apps simpler and more intuitive.” Batey also put strong emphasis on the importance of safety: “If we can’t introduce a feature safely we won’t support it.”
An initial list of planned apps announced today includes Vehicle Health, iHeartRadio, Priceline.com, The Weather Channel, NPR, Slacker Radio, TuneIn Radio, Cityseeker, Eventseeker, Glympse and Kaliki.
Today’s news follows the earlier announcement of its LTE plans at last year’s Mobile World Congress (February 2013.) Back then, GM’s vice chairman Steve Grisky claimed the manufacturer would be the fastest company to roll out in-car 4G services. At today’s event, Batey reiterated this claim, promising to offer “the largest number of cars with built-in 4G, from entry-level cars to Stingray.”