Driving The Hotspot: OnStar's New 4G LTE In-Car Connection
Now, General Motors will be installing 4G LTE into most of their 2015 models. This time, it will be a part of OnStar, enabling the vehicle connection service to connect quicker to receive its services.
However, the new OnStar 4G LTE connection does even more. Stuart Fowle, a spokesperson for OnStar, explains: “OnStar with 4G LTE takes the high speed connectivity that many people have become accustomed to in other parts of their lives and embeds it in a vehicle, taking connectivity on the road.” This is achieved by connecting through AT&T’s mobile network at the higher bandwith and speed.
CarSoup.com drove a 2015 Buick LaCrosse equipped with OnStar’s 4G LTE hotspot technology. There were two things we wanted to know. Does it live up to its claim of having multiple devices connected using the hotspot? Also, how does it work in smaller cities and rural communities?
It actually works. You can tether up to seven devices on the same hot spot and can have these devices work simultaneously. You can multitask on your devices, as well. In our tests, we found that connection and download speeds were very good in both urban and rural settings along the Interstate. We also found that connection speeds are not as optimal away from an Interstate highway, but you can connect and download without any “time outs” or interruptions. However, keep in mind that your actual connectivity will depend on your location.
There is more to the hotspot than just connecting your devices to a single connection. The connection also enhances OnStar’s own primary services. “Because AT&T 4G LTE offers simultaneous voice and data,” Fowle explains, “it also allows our advisors to stay on a call while running a diagnostic check on a vehicle, which a customer can request while on the move. Previously, this required putting the customer on hold. And things like downloading a navigation destination move much quicker now.”
To prove this, OnStar was called a few times for various destinations both in urban and rural areas. As a result, getting destination downloads onto the car were quicker than before, thanks to the 4G LTE connection link.
However, the key to maintaining such a powerful tool is to be safe and conscientious about using it. “Obviously, we do not condone a driver using the hotspot at the wheel,” said Fowle. “The driver should always keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road while letting passengers enjoy the connectivity of a rolling Wi-Fi connection.”
If you are looking at a 2015 GM car with the 4G LTE hotspot, the service is billed separately, with discounts applied to OnStar subscribers. You could pay monthly for the hotspot service or on a one-time basis up to a full year. If you happen to be an AT&T customer, you could add your vehicle to your Mobile Share Plan for an additional cost per month.
If you are interested in making your connection greater, OnStar’s 4G LTE connection can be a powerful tool to keeping your family happy on the road – and everyone safe.
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Photos © General Motors