Verizon is busy getting into the Internet of Things and your cars with promotions and announcements surrounding cars that could lead to the conclusion that some point in the near future Verizon will be offering services to not only automakers but also to drivers in cars.
Verizon follows AT&T History
The two major carriers in the United States are AT&T and Verizon Wireless. AT&T is the first to offer Wi-Fi hotspot service in GM cars by a monthly service through OnStar or by adding it on to an AT&T share plan. AT&T was the first carrier to offer the iPhone and a few years later Verizon was the next carrier to offer iPhones. Let’s look at what road Verizon Wireless is taking to be your carrier of choice. The wireless market has become very competitive and Verizon has expanded its network on the roads of the US and the next place may most likely be inside cars too.
Marketing to Auto Enthusiasts
In late August, for the Indy races in Fontana, Verizon invited the media to go along for the ride at 200 mph. Verizon set up a stage at The Grove in Los Angeles with race car drivers and Verizon Enterprise engineers to show how race cars equipped with Verizon technology can broadcast video. Video from the race cars was streamed to Verizon INDYCAR 14 app. Verizon set up the interactive Verizon Fan Village for Indy races. The media was given access to races to see how the Verizon Wireless Network is used by the pit crew to view and deliver car data. (See video from the Grove event below).
App-lifying Car Rentals for Customers with in-car Wi-Fi
Today, Verizon announced Verizon Auto Share, an enterprise car sharing rental and return cars platform for the end of 2014. A smartphone app lets the driver “Scan & Go” to gain access to a vehicle of their choice and drive it within minutes. The smartphone scans a code and the person is verified and then given access to virtual keyfob to unlock the car. The news release stated, “Drivers can also receive promotional offers such as in-car Wi-Fi and advanced fuel/refill purchase options.”
Mmmn here’s the clue we’ve been looking for, we at AUTO Connected Car News do not think that Verizon would offer “in-car Wi-Fi” from AT&T.
Confused News Sources
Bloomberg news reported, today
“[Web connection]The capability is just down the road. GM this year is equipping more than 30 models with 4G LTE, while Hyundai Motor Co, Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz and Toyota Motor Corp. have struck deals with Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) to provide wireless service in their cars.”
We contacted the Verizon PR rep Marie McGehee in Detroit at the Intelligent Transport System (ITS) World Congress in Detroit who did verify that Verizon has an agreements with Toyota and Hyundai to provide wireless connectivity for the automakers. Verizon bought Hughes Telematics in 2012 and provides Telematics services for Mercedes, Nissan and Volkswagen.
Verizon is providing wireless service safety, diagnostics and infotainment, however in a previous Bloomberg report it was stated that “video streaming” and wireless hotspots will eventually be offered in the Hyundai BlueLink connected car service.
Verizon Telematics services give Verizon a foot in the door or trunk to offer wireless connections to consumers in their cars. There were other reports that Verizon will offer Wi-Fi service in cars as an add-on to the share plan similar to what AT&T offers in GM cars.
The world of connected cars is getting just as complicated as wireless plans. If drivers have a choice of two car models with similar features and one requires a change of wireless plans, they may just buy the car with the wireless plan they already know and love. The average wireless plan is two years and smartphone life less than two years. The average age of light vehicles is 11.4 years with most people keeping their cars for six years. Or on the other hand drivers may change their wireless plan to match their car.