AT&T, GM team up to make 4G cars

February 25, 2013

The dream of having a truly connected car may be getting closer. General Motors and AT&T announced that they will work together to put 4G WiFi connectivity into cars starting in 2014, opening up a new consumer electronics platform for app developers.

The push to create connected cars has been gaining force in the past few years, as auto companies at industry trades shows touting features, such as the ability to send and receive social media updates from the car. GM’s OnStar service has been offering connected-car features -- such as security alerts, directory assistance and driving directions -- for years.

The 4G cars will have all those services, but the companies said Monday that their partnership will build on the suite of OnStar features to provide more high-tech options in GM cars.

The partnership with AT&T also allows GM to put third-party applications in its cars, the companies said. Consumers would be able to stream content from services like Netflix to passengers in the back seat, for example. The companies will also work to integrate voice-recognition technology from AT&T for more advanced hands-free technology aimed at decreasing distracted driving.

“Through this built-in 4G LTE connection, we have the opportunity to reinvent the mobile experience inside a vehicle,” said Mary Chan, a GM executive, in a press release.

The companies did not say how much the service would cost. Verizon had previously held the contract to provide connectivity for GM’s OnStar service.

Related stories:

Mobile device connections growing quickly

CES 2013: Car tech focuses on making the most of your time on the road — safely

Driverless cars and heightened road-safety technology unveiled at Las Vegas tech show

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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