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GM Offering Unlimited Data for OnStar WiFi Service

Use of hotspot increased nearly 200% in 2016.

by on Mar.02, 2017

GM's OnStar 4G LTE wifi hotspot has seen a near 200% increase in data use between 2015 and 2016.

Geez … it seems like everyone is offering unlimited data plans these days: Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, General Motors. Wait? What?

GM plans to offer a $20 a month prepaid unlimited data plan through AT&T for its 4.1 million vehicles equipped with OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot.

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The new plan is available starting tomorrow and includes Buick, Chevrolet, GMC and Cadillac vehicles with the hotspot. Of those 4.1 million vehicles, all but 1 million are Chevrolets, according to the company.

“We have contractors bidding jobs in their Silverados, families streaming movies in their Suburbans and Malibus, and everyone tapping into the cloud for music,” Alan Batey, president of GM North America and global head of Chevrolet, said in a statement.

(Connected car industry expected to exceed $130B annually by 2019. Click Here for the story.)

“With the most affordable unlimited 4G LTE data plan in the auto industry, the widest availability of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and new connected services like OnStar AtYourService, our momentum can only grow.”

Chevy owners in the U.S. used more than 4 million gigabytes of data in 2016. Chevrolet’s more than 3.1 million vehicles equipped with OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspots means it has more vehicles with a 4G LTE connection on the road than any other carmaker, GM claims.

The popularity of in-vehicle wifi isn’t a surprise and the increase in usage isn’t either as vehicles become mobile offices or homes. Americans are spending more time in the vehicle than ever, setting new records for the numbers of miles driven annually each of the last three years.

(Click Here for details about automakers’ February sales results.)

GM hopes the new plan will boost subscriptions for data use, said Vijay Iyer, director of global communications for GM, Global Connected Customer Experience and Urban Mobility. GM would not disclose how many data subscribers it has.

Now, OnStar charges $10 a month for 1 gigabyte of data, $20 a month for 4 gigabytes and $40 a month for 10 gigabytes of data. Data passes also are available for $5 for 250 megabytes of data per day, or 20 gigabytes used over 12 months for $150. Data plans are available through AT&T or through OnStar.

However, the $20 a month unlimited plan will likely make all the other options obsolete, although the company said it will offer the $10 a month plan for 1 gigabyte, as well as the daily and 12-month passes.

(What is the U.S. auto market likely to look like this year? Click Here for some educated guessing.)

GM noted that use of the OnStar hotspot has increased was up nearly 200% last year when compared with 2015. GM said that in 2016, Chevy owners and passengers streamed more than 17.5 million hours of video.

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