Jan 10, 2014 11:06 AM EST
AT&T is continuing to make inroads in the automotive business, announcing this week new partnerships with Audi and Tesla that will see a rollout of data services to a variety of vehicles from both carmakers. Audi is slated to get 4G LTE connectivity, while Tesla is relegated to 3G for some reason.
Last year, the carrier struck a similar agreement with Chevrolet and the new deal might represent a shift in focus to more premium car brands.
“AT&T has the nation’s fastest and most reliable LTE network and this new relationship with Audi allows us to drastically improve the in-car experience,” said Glenn Lurie, president, AT&T emerging enterprises and partnerships organization in a press statement. “It’s exciting to think about the Audi A3 family of cars throughout the U.S. running 4G LTE-powered wireless hotspots and more through Audi connect.”
As part of the new partnership with Audi, AT&T will offer a Mobile Share data plan option that allows customers to add their vehicle to an existing wireless plan, much like a smartphone or tablet. The data will come in handy since users will be able to access over 7,000 Internet radio stations, Facebook and Twitter. For passengers, the built-in hotspot will allow HD video streaming to as many as eight devices.
“With the introduction of the new A3 family Audi is putting the most advanced technology into the compact luxury segment,” said Scott Keogh, --president, Audi of America. “Offering drivers a 4G LTE connection will provide the fastest in-vehicle connection available and significantly enhance the infotainment experience.”
The new deal reportedly affects Audi’s 2015 lineup of the A3, as well as all current and future Tesla models.
“Tesla’s goal has always been to catalyze the market for electric vehicles for all consumers while providing an exceptional driving experience,” said Elon Musk, co-founder and CEO of Tesla in a press statement. “AT&T’s advanced and reliable wireless connectivity will help Tesla continue to deliver a cutting-edge ownership experience.”
Current Tesla owners will presumably need to visit a dealership to have the new system installed, though details are still a little foggy. No pricing has been announced by either carmaker.
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