US: GM and AT&T sign deal for 4G vehicles image

General Motors and AT&T reached a deal to allow the smartphone subscribers to add GM’s new 4G-connected vehicles to their mobile data plans when the automaker starts delivering 2015 model-year vehicles this summer.

Although GM would not reveal pricing, the company said AT&T would allow smartphone data service subscribers to add their vehicles onto their mobile data plans.

So, for example, AT&T iPhone owners can spread out their monthly allotment of gigabytes between their phones and their 2015 GM vehicles. Non-AT&T subscribers can purchase a vehicle data plan directly with AT&T.

The AT&T deal is a particularly lucrative new route for GM, which gets $20 for every vehicle owner who activates the service and a percentage of the wireless fees paid to the service provider, outgoing GM CEO Dan Akerson revealed last year.

The latest deal comes as GM plans to simultaneously launch a new digital store to allow car owners to download applications for most 2015 models.

The AppShop will offer standard fare such as the Weather Channel and NPR, as well as quirky social apps like Glympse, which shares the driver’s location in real-time with friends.

The AppShop launches this summer as GM starts releasing 2015 model-year vehicles with AT&T’s built-in 4G LTE high-speed Internet connectivity. The first vehicles to offer the system will be the Corvette Stingray, Chevrolet Impala, Chevy Malibu and Chevy Volt.

For now, the technology will be available only in the U.S. and Canada, but GM eventually plans to introduce similar offerings in other global markets.

“The technology is built in a way we can easily expand that and take advantage of networks globally,” said Tim Nixon, chief technology officer of GM’s global connected consumer unit. “We’re preparing ourselves for the inevitable use of this technology around the world.”

With 4G built into the car, drivers can activate a Wi-Fi hotspot, allowing passengers to connect smartphones, tablets and laptops. The new system also makes GM’s OnStar safety and security system 100 times faster than the previous 2G technology.