Audi announced a cheaper version of its Audi Connect service that provides unlimited 3G wireless Internet in your vehicle for $15/month. WiFi access in-car is a growing trend, and Audi was the first company to offer it integrated within the vehicle without a dealer add-on module. Now, they are trying to make a statement by offering it cheaper than anyone else.
Powered by T-Mobile, Audi Connect allows the vehicle itself to connect to the Internet for access to Google Earth, Google Local search and more. Also, the vehicle acts as a WiFi hot spot, letting people connect their laptops and iPads to the vehicle. The plan is virtually unlimited, even though T-Mobile does reserve the right to throttle high data consuming individuals. According to Brad Stertz, Audi’s Communication Manager…
T-Mobile reserves the right to limit highly extreme users, but I’m not aware that has ever happened.
The Connect plans from Audi are a pre-paid type setup, and in order to get the $15/month access, you must purchase 30 months of service at $400. But as you can see from the screen grab from Audi’s website, 30 months of access is cheaper at $400 total than 24 months of access at $600 total!
Currently, BMW does offer their own in-vehicle Internet access through a dedicated connection. A lot of electric vehicles, like the Tesla Model S and the Ford Focus Electric, also feature an integrated cellular connection. Other systems, like MyFord Touch, allow you to connect a USB network dongle to the USB port and use a wireless router built into the vehicle to share high-speed internet. The Tesla and the Ford Focus Electric’s systems are free for a time (the Tesla allows web browser access from the dash, but no wireless in vehicle, and the Focus Electric only allows a data connection for EV-specific information and not consumer access), but using a dongle requires a monthly subscription from a carrier.
Partnering with T-Mobile may be a good way to go for Audi, but their service is not nearly as ubiquitous as Verizon Wireless or AT&T, so depending on where you live your mileage may very.
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