AT&T and General Motors (GM) outlined plans to extend an existing partnership by connecting millions of vehicles to the operator’s 5G network, leveraging the cloud compute capabilities of mutual partner Microsoft.
The pair plan to include 5G connectivity in new vehicles from 2024, with GM detailing plans to enable third parties to connect to AT&T’s 5G network to provide a range of services.
In a statement, AT&T and GM explained they aimed to “meet the needs of an all-electric and autonomous future”.
During a media briefing, AT&T SVP of global business, industry solutions Gregory Wieboldt explained engineers are working to combine their respective technologies with Microsoft’s “scalable and secure cloud services”. He noted the growing importance of the network edge for performance, safety and entertainment in GM’s vehicles.
Wieboldt claimed AT&T connects more vehicles to mobile networks than any other operator.
AT&T and GM have been partners since 2014, with the automaker planning an estimated 7.5 million OTA updates to its vehicles this year using the operator’s LTE network.
Wieboldt explained some GM vehicles will start to migrate to the 5G network as soon as 2022 once it sees the “network core is ready”.
Tom DeMaria, GM executive director, 5G connected services, said its engineers are becoming more involved in the AT&T core infrastructure as the network supports more automotive use cases.
He said autonomous driving and navigation services increasingly rely on “supplemental data coming in from the the network”.
Deployments of autonomous vehicles are occurring primarily “in the enterprise space in closed environments”, Wieboldt noted.