General Motors is expecting to have AT&T's 4G LTE connectivity available in up to 30 of its latest car models by the end of the year.
The company has recently started to roll out its latest models with 4G LTE "hotspots" onboard, part of a multi-year deal with AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T). A spokesman for General Motors tells Light Reading that 10 models are on the road now.
GM has been running test drives of the capabilities of the wireless cars for a year now, with the latest one happening in California this week.
The in-car 4G will connect with AT&T's network where LTE is available, otherwise it selects a 3G connection. The GM spokesman told us that the tests had shown good performance with cell site handoffs at speed, although buffering is a possibility if a video stream moves off 4G onto a lower-speed connection.
AT&T has been working with GM on deploying LTE for a while. As Chris Penrose, SVP in the emerging devices division at AT&T, explains, the design cycle in adding new connectivity features to vehicles can take years. "Typically, it's a three to four year lifecycle," Penrose says.
AT&T, however, is trying to speed up the process somewhat at car manufacturers and operators look at a world where more third party apps could be developed for vehicles. This is part of the point of the AT&T Drive platform, Penrose says, to help bring development times down.
AT&T and GM first announced the LTE hook-up in February 2013.
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading