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GM to Deploy 4G in 2015 Models

Collaboration with AT&T begins with U.S., Canada rollout in 2014

Forget plugging-in your smartphone to the car. General Motors plans to embed 4G LTE connectivity capability directly into the dashboard of some 2015 model vehicles.

The first GM cars, trucks and crossovers to get 4G LTE-capability will be most 2015 Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac models available in North America in 2014. AT&T is supplying the connectivity in these initial models.

The 4G LTE structure is designed into the vehicle’s electrical system and includes an external antenna to help maximize coverage and connectivity, according to the automaker. GM intends to announce more carriers in the coming months. AT&T claims its 4G LTE network could reach 300 million people in the U.S. by the end of 2014.

The built-in data connection means GM customers would get in-vehicle Wi-Fi hotspots, new infotainment options like streaming video in the back seat, real-time updates and faster downloads, according to the automaker.

The enhancements build on GM OnStar’s portfolio of connected services. OnStar debuted in 1996. 

The automaker says the integration of 4G into its vehicles will enhance GM’s recently announced application framework and third-party developers program. We’ve reported automakers are now starting to open some of what had been proprietary IP to third-party application developers. GM is no exception.

Last month, GM introduced a set of vehicle application programming interfaces that enable developers to build on GM infotainment systems. The automaker also debuted a flexible application framework that will allow drivers to add apps and infotainment features to their vehicles after purchase.

GM Global Connected Consumer President Mary Chan said the 4G commitment strengthens GM’s ability to innovate collaboratively with its developer partners. “Developers will be able to take advantage of 4G LTE speeds as they design vehicle-specific apps, and they can pursue development knowing that they’ll have a broad base of potential customers as connectivity is built-in across GM brands and regions.”