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General Motors’ Vehicle Intelligent Platform showing connectivity to the cloud

Can You Hear Me Now? 3G Disconnect Affects Millions of Vehicles

Many models of North American vehicles built between 2010 and 2022 face a loss of connectivity and functionality including real time data services and automatic collision notification.

Giving cars internet connectivity has numerous upsides including over-the-air software and feature updates, real-time location and traffic data and future interactions with smart infrastructure. There is also the flipside that results from technology obsolescence.

As of Feb. 22, millions of cars no longer may be able to connect to the mobile data if the vehicle relies on the AT&T network. With 5G and even 6G networks on the way, other major mobile carriers also plan to shut down their 3G networks during 2022. The carriers want to free up bandwidth for 4G and 5G networks that are more efficient than 3G. T-Mobile plans to shut down its Sprint and T-Mobile 3G networks between March and July. Verizon will shut down its 3G “no later than Dec. 31.

Cars affected by this shutdown may lose the ability to update location and traffic data, connect to smartphones, voice assistants or emergency services. Other services can include automatic collision notification, music streaming, smart summon in a parking lot, remote control features through the vehicle’s mobile app, WiFi hotspot, and more.

Numerous vehicles built between 2010 to 2022 will be affected. This includes certain models from Acura (2014-2017), Audi (2012-2018), BMW, General Motors (2015 and newer), Honda (2018-2022), Lexus (2010-2018), Nissan (2011-2018), Porsche (2014-2021), Subaru (2016-2019), Tesla (pre-2015), Toyota (2010-2019), Volkswagen (2014-2019), Volvo (2015-2018).

Some OEMs have already sent software fixes to the vehicles that can be updated remotely. Others require end users to accept update prompts on the vehicle’s screen. Surprisingly, a few OEMs have not announced updates or upgrades to keep their vehicles connected.

Because of hardware used, some vehicles are not eligible for updates at all, meaning they cannot be upgraded to 4G. Some automakers will offer software and/or hardware fixes at their dealer service centers.

For example, Audi announced it is working with Silicon Valley-based startup Mojio on a hardware update to enable owners of affected vehicles to connect to 4G networks. Volkswagen is also working with Mojio to “provide vehicle owners with an intelligent device that easily plugs into their vehicles and allows them to keep automatic crash notification and SOS active despite the 3G shutdown.”

Motion for Audi Connect is offered by Audi dealers as a free hardware and software installation for customers in North America if the vehicle is under warranty. Owners of vehicles out of warranty can still get the upgrade by paying a fee.

For other car manufacturers, Mojio offers a plug-in solution and mobile app for $295, which includes 18 months of service and can be extended beyond that for $10 per month. The company offers its Motion platform that includes a telematics engine, a mobility authoring tool, a services ecosystem, and a data intelligence toolkit.

Used-car prices may be slightly impacted by a loss of connectivity. Even if a vehicle can be upgraded to 4G capability, there is no guarantee it can access all of the 4G features or that it can handle 5G in the future. However, the chip shortage that has been driving up the price of used cars should minimize the additional impact of connectivity issues on vehicle values.

TAGS: Dealers
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