4G LTE coming to 15 car makers, which ones, when?

Qualcomm Connected CarWe at AUTO Connected Car News only cover the connected car space.  We find itvery amusing when standard news agencies cover the topic because they mix up their facts and confuse information. Christiano Amon from Qualcomm  spilled some interesting connected car industry beans with a few surprises and incorrect facts to Fox news.

He thinks that “We will see cars that are 4G enabled in the second half of this year.” The fact is there are already 4G enabled cars in the United States, GM’s OnStar has been deployed in some models and the Audi A3 offers 4G LTE from AT&T

Audi was the first car maker to announce 4G connectivity embedded in its cars, with the company’s A3 using a Qualcomm chip. The Audi A3 went on sale in late May of this year.

According to the OnStar website many Chevy (Malibu, Impala, Spark, Volt Equinox) GMC (Yukon/Terrain/Sierra) and Buick (Regal, LaCrosse, Verano, Encore) models can be bought as of this writing with AT&T 4G LTE.  That’s a lot 4G LTE connections, already available.

Amon says 4G can coordinate smartphone mapping with in-car navigation and allow vehicle fleet managers to  monitor the speed of specific vehicles, while insurance companies can obtain location data for stolen cars and even disable the car’s engine, if necessary. That part is true.

“I think we’re engaged now with over 15 car makers about adding 4G connectivity to cars worldwide,” said Amon.

Here’s the fun part which car makers will be next?

Qualcomm is public company and can’t tell, however, we have  many cues to follow.

Volvo announced a deal with AT&T for HSPA+ connectivity we can assume that 4G LTE will be coming later.

Qualcomm makes the chips for most smartphones in the United States. We have already found clues that Hyundai and Toyota  have Verizon connections while Verizon offers a $1 million connected car prize. Tesla already has a HSPA+ AT&T connection but could upgrade.

Qualcomm works seamlessly with QNX therefore we can add QNX vehicles to the list.

What car companies are next to deploy 4G? Here are AUTO Connected Car’s guesstimates.

  1. BMW – although BMW apps are poorly rated BMW customers love their connectivity. BMW actively competes with Audi.
  2. MINI Cooper – MINI follows BMW with is features and software.
  3. Mercedes-Benz – the C Class offers CarPlay if one luxury car goes LTE, others follow.
  4. VW- already has MirrorLink and a fan base.
  5. Ford/Lincoln – Ford  already has its Sync program for develops and open source. It is working with Automatic for Siri  integration.
  6. Lincoln – follows Ford.
  7. Honda – number three car maker likes its position but with the latest AT&T survey saying buyers will change brands for a connected car, well Honda may have to join the 4G LTE bandwagon.
  8. Rolls Royce with its high price tag surely 4G should come along for the ride.
  9. Ferrari is the first to deliver CarPlay, fast cars need fast connections.
  10. Fiat/Chrysler if you want to do business in the U.S. in Silicon Valley, you need 4G LTE.
  11. Cadillac is part of GM and will definitely have OnStar 4G LTE.
  12. Tesla with HSPA+ may announce a model with 4G or upgrade.
  13. Volvo upgrading later.
  14. Toyota – see above.
  15. Hyundai – already announced connectivity in the future.

For “maybe later, but not in talks now ,” we think Nissan/ Infiniti may be slow to follow because it is promoting smartphone connected car features using Airbquity Choreo which is highly rated. Nissan likes to keep its prices low. We think they may delay deployment.

Studies show that the more luxurious the car, the more connected car features are wanted. Most analysts are looking at the luxury car announcements coming first. GM is the only car maker that will offer 4G LTE in economy cars, for now.  As car buyers demand connectivity the car makers will follow.

When will know what cars will have LTE?

Qualcomm is in talks now. Our sources suggest some kind of announcement at the Connected Car Expo at the LA Auto Show, followed by man announcements at CES in Las Vegas in January 2015, when we bet 2015 will be named “The Year of the Connected Car”

An analyst may let something slip at Telematics West Coast.  We’ll be at all the events to report the latest connected car news.

The wireless carriers for the services: AT&T, Verizon, some Sprint and maybe T-Mobile will have a way to change, later.

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