General Motors has announced an alliance with AT&T at Mobile World Congress as the pair prepare to embed 4G LTE services in new GM cars.
The partnership between the US automotive manufacturer and telecommunications provider aims to provide future vehicles with 4G LTE (a standard for wireless communication of high-speed data for mobile phones and data terminals, based on the GSM/EDGE and UMTS/HSPA network technologies) mobile Internet access, power safety, and security services offered by OnStar, access a new suite of ‘info-tainment’ services, such as streaming audio, web access, apps, and video for rear seat passengers.
“By adding a 4G LTE connection specifically designed for vehicles, we have the opportunity to reinvent the mobile experience inside a vehicle,” says Mary Chan, General Motors president of global connected consumer division.
General Motors’ announcement aligns with an emerging trend for American vehicle makers. By Q1/2014, GMC (a division of General Motors), Chevrolet, Buick, and Cadillac products will feature 4G services in the US and Canada.
“This seems to be the current trend,” says Jeremy Green, principal analyst/telco strategy practice at market-watcher Ovum. “All automotive providers see the opportunity to service multimedia content into vehicles - [but] whether it’s an absolute requirement is another matter. The industry will go where it thinks the money is.”
He adds: “It does, however, make sense, the entertainment services will work better with 4G, and the end user and operator will experience better results.”