2015 Volvo models to get AT&T wireless data plans
AT&T network will serve as data pipe for Volvo's connected infotainment, telematics.
As the race to turn cars into mobile internet devices heats up, AT&T announced it will pipe cellular data into Volvo vehicles starting this summer. Certain 2015 Volvo models equipped with the company’s Sensus Connected Touch infotainment platform and On Call telematics system will use AT&T’s cellular network.
Sensus Connect offers an in-dash Internet connection that can also be used to create a Wi-Fi hot spot in a vehicle, cloud-based navigation, streaming music apps, live weather reports and more. Volvo On Call features automatic crash notification, roadside assistance and other telematics services and works with a smartphone app to remotely control vehicle functions such as door locking and unlocking as well as providing info including location and fuel level.
AT&T and Volvo have not announced pricing or availability.
“That will come a little closer to launch,” Chris Penrose, AT&T’s senior vice president of emerging devices, told MSN Autos. “You’ll begin to see vehicles rolling out and AT&T activating them this summer, and you’ll see that continue to roll out across vehicle lines. It’s a multi-year relationship with Volvo, not only for the U.S. but also Canada.”
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This is the latest in a series of deals AT&T has inked with automakers. Last year, the company signed on General Motors and Tesla, and this year it launched service with Audi, starting with the new 2015 A3. AT&T already had deals with BMW and Ford to provide wireless connectivity for some of those automakers’ vehicles.
Audi and GM vehicles operate on AT&T’s 4G LTE network, while Tesla relies on a slower 3G network. Volvo vehicles will employ AT&T's HSPA+ technology, “a wireless standard that is slower than its LTE, but which AT&T still regards as 4G,” said CNET.
Regardless of the network speed, AT&T appears to be pulling ahead of its competitors in getting cars connected and also connecting with automakers.
Verizon has deals with Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen, while Sprint provides wireless connectivity for Chrysler vehicles. Audi’s wireless service was provided by T-Mobile prior to signing the deal with AT&T.
AT&T's recently unveiled Drive Platform and Drive Studio could help it move further ahead of the pack, while also helping automakers navigate the uncharted path for connected cars. The Drive Platform is “a modular, global solution that allows automakers to pick and choose what services and capabilities are important to them,” according to AT&T, while the Drive Studio in Atlanta has a garage, speech lab and other facilities that allows AT&T to work closely with automakers.
“It allows us to build out a complete reference platform, completely integrated and working in a real car," said Penrose. “We’re also working closely with automobile manufacturers and application partners to build applications that are specifically car-centric and speech-enabled and fully integrated before they are brought to market. We’ll be able to leverage that on Volvo cars in very short order.”
Penrose didn’t indicate specific applications that will launch in Volvo vehicles with AT&T connectivity this summer. “We’re talking with Volvo about different solutions we can bring to their vehicles," he said.
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