Ready to trade your old car in for a shiny new mobile hotspot? AT&T and GM are using the international platform that is Mobile World Congress to announce a partnership that'll bring the carrier's LTE network to "millions of cars" under the Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac umbrellas. The rollout is set to hit the 2015 models due out in 2014 in the US and Canada. The partnership with GM-owned OnStar will bring AT&T connectivity to a variety of services, including safety, diagnostics, infotainment and safety -- the carrier's president of emerging enterprises and partnerships, Glenn Lurie, told us that the latter was a chief concern for his company. "First and foremost is making the car safer," he explained, referencing the company's "It Can Wait," anti-driving-while-texting campaign. Such will certainly be a concern when the company realizes its dreams of turning GM vehicles into mobile hotspots.
Details of the partnership are forthcoming, though Lurie insists that AT&T will be "working on every aspect of what's going into the vehicle," including opening up SDKs and APIs for developers in an attempt to, "futureproof the car for things to come." As far as futureproofing after market vehicles, Lurie says, "we are working and looking at all opportunities in the after market space. We are absolutely working with partners on the after market." More info from GM and AT&T can be had after the break.
Daniel Cooper contributed to this report.
General Motors Selects at&t's 4G LTE network TO DELIVER enhanced services to Millions of vehicles
AT&T*, the leader in emerging devices and telematics services, today announced an agreement with OnStar, LLC, a subsidiary of General Motors Corporation (GM), to wirelessly deliver an enhanced suite of safety, security, diagnostic and infotainment services to most Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles, beginning in 2014 in the United States and Canada.
The multi-year agreement calls for AT&T to enable millions of GM cars, trucks and crossovers with 4G LTE mobile Internet access, providing the latest wireless technology to power GM's safety and security services offered by OnStar, as well as a new suite of infotainment services like streaming audio, web access, applications, and even video for backseat passengers. AT&T will also enable GM's in-vehicle Wi-Fi hotspots and voice calling services. These enhancements build on OnStar's existing portfolio of connected services, first introduced in GM vehicles in 1996.
Contractual and financial details of the agreement are not being disclosed.
"Introducing 4G LTE into GM vehicles is a game-changing opportunity, and we couldn't be better positioned to help drive this movement," said Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO, AT&T Mobility. "We're working closely with GM to grow the connected car base, and provide unique and relevant services that will improve the connected experience inside automobiles for both drivers and passengers."
"By adding a fast, reliable and built-in 4G LTE connection specifically designed for vehicles, we can drive innovation to enhance virtually every aspect of the driving and riding experience – from safety and diagnostics to entertainment to integration of emerging third-party applications," said Mary Chan, president, Global Connected Consumer, General Motors. "Through this built-in 4G LTE connection we have the opportunity to reinvent the mobile experience inside a vehicle."
Beyond 4G LTE connectivity, AT&T and GM will work together as part of a broad ecosystem focused on development of new communication applications for the vehicle designed to deliver more efficiency while also enhancing the driving and riding experience.
GM will preview a series of conceptual connected services at GSMA's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week in the AT&T-sponsored area of the Connected City. GM's move to integrate 4G LTE services in vehicles in the U.S. and Canada is part of a broader global strategy.
GM and AT&T first teamed in January when GM sponsored a Connected Car Challenge as part of an AT&T Hackathon for mobile app developers in Las Vegas. During the event, GM introduced a new set of vehicle application programming interfaces (APIs), enabling developers to build apps for GM vehicles' infotainment systems. The GM SDK (software developers' kit) also offers a new flexible application framework that will allow drivers to add apps and features to their vehicles after purchase.
Telematics, Apps and Global Presence
AT&T has been an industry leader in telematics and related applications development, offering a range of connectivity and services for cars manufactured by a variety of global automotive makers. For more than a decade, AT&T has provided world-class connected and M2M device support and professional services to many of the world's largest device manufacturers and global exporters of wireless-enabled equipment. AT&T has certified and supports nearly 1,300 varieties of connected devices, with labs dedicated to bringing new devices to market, global roaming and integrated SIM provisioning, billing and reporting tools.
Many of these advancements are being made possible as a result of AT&T's innovation programs, which include the AT&T Foundry, TIP (an internal innovation program) and AT&T Labs. Researchers are leveraging decades of speech recognition expertise to deliver a connected, voice-enabled virtual assistant for use by automotive manufacturers. The technology will be backed by the AT&T WatsonSM speech engine, providing a complete cloud-based, voice-enabled natural language mobile virtual assistant solution for wirelessly connected vehicles. AT&T also provides support for hands-free speech-enabled services to prevent driver distraction, as well as remote vehicle functions such as door lock/unlock, remote start, and vehicle location services.
AT&T was also the first to enter the market with a proprietary, single global SIM platform enabling automotive, consumer and M2M equipment makers the ability to work through a single carrier to wirelessly enable and connect products. Announced last year, AT&T's single SIM platform delivers built-in access to wireless and data networks throughout most of the world, with service in more than 200 countries and access to more than 600 carriers worldwide. AT&T's platform is backed by a world-class service-management solution, AT&T Control Center powered by Jasper Wireless, offering powerful global diagnostic, monitoring, and alert/response capabilities proven to help automate operations and reduce the total cost associated with globally connected vehicles, consumer devices and M2M deployment.
AT&T 4G LTE Network
AT&T customers today have access to the nation's largest 4G network, covering 288 million people. AT&T recently announced Project Velocity IP (VIP), its strategic plan to invest $14 billion over the next three years to enhance and expand its wireless and wireline IP broadband networks. As part of Project VIP, AT&T's 4G LTE network is expected to cover 300 million people by year-end 2014.
AT&T's 4G LTE network has been recognized for its speed and coverage. AT&T 4G LTE delivered faster average download speeds than any of the competitors in PCWorld's most recent 13-market speed tests, and telecommunications industry analyst firm Frost and Sullivan awarded AT&T its 2012 North American Mobile Network Strategy Award for the second year in a row.
GM Announces Widest Deployment of 4G LTE Services in Vehicles
General Motors today announced a broad global strategy to deliver a new generation of connected cars and trucks with embedded 4G LTE mobile broadband. This will mark the largest deployment of 4G LTE services in the automotive industry to date.
The first GM cars, trucks and crossovers to get 4G LTE will be most 2015 Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac models available in 2014 in the United States and Canada 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.
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. Expected benefits for GM customers could include in-vehicle Wi-Fi hot spots, new infotainment options like 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," said Mary Chan, president, Global Connected Consumer, General Motors. "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."
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. 4G LTE will make services such as real-time traffic and navigation updates possible, pulling information from the cloud.
GM and AT&T will immediately begin work to develop 4G LTE connectivity for GM vehicles in the U.S. and Canada. AT&T's 4G LTE network is expected to reach 300 million people in the U.S. 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.
"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," said Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO, AT&T Mobility.
Both GM and AT&T are leading innovators in their industries.
GM received more U.S. patents in 2012 than any other automaker as it continued to drive advances in performance, efficiency, sustainability and in-vehicle infotainment. GM enabled the world's first connected vehicles 16 years ago with OnStar, which continues to deliver industry-leading capabilities, ranging from stolen vehicle assistance to voice navigation and live advisor support.
"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," said Chan.
AT&T maintains a long heritage of innovation at AT&T Labs. The company's hands-on work with the developer community, centered in its AT&T Foundry facilities, has resulted in numerous innovations in mobile apps and network technology.
The widespread integration of 4G LTE into GM vehicles will enhance GM's 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.
"Our commitment to 4G LTE strengthens our ability to collaboratively innovate with developer partners," said Chan. "Developers will be able to take full advantage of 4G LTE speeds as they design vehicle-specific apps, and they can pursue development knowing that they'll have a broad base of potential customers as connectivity is built-in across GM brands and regions."
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.