AT&T revealed as Tesla's mobile partner for in-vehicle wireless connectivity

By on October 17, 2013, 5:30 PM
att, tesla, electric car, model s, wireless connectivity, infotainment system

It was revealed for the first time today that Tesla relies on AT&T to supply its fleet of electric vehicles with Internet connectivity via the company’s wireless machine-to-machine (M2M) solution. AT&T senior vice president of emerging devices Chris Penrose revealed the partnership during the GigaOm Mobilize Conference in San Francisco.

Through the use of a wireless modem and embedded SIM card, vehicles are able to connect and share near real-time data with Tesla. Applications include the ability to help locate a stolen vehicle and provide infotainment features like Internet radio, web search, live traffic updates, weather, navigation and more through a massive 17-inch touch-enabled display.

Tesla engineers as well as drivers also have access to engine diagnostics which could help determine if there are any performance issues that need tending to before further degradation takes place. The system is additionally used to deliver updates to the car which typically takes place overnight during recharging.

Interestingly enough, the service relies on AT&T’s 3G HSPA+ network instead of their faster 4G LTE service. I suppose 3G speeds are quick enough for basic system updates and diagnostics although some owners have complained that apps like Google Maps don’t update quickly enough.

The system uses a special split SIM card that is able to differentiate between different types of data. By identifying if data is being used by the car for diagnostics or by the user for entertainment, AT&T is able to split billing according between the vehicle owner and Tesla.




User Comments: 4

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RzmmDX said:

Is it still valid to laugh at AT&T's network coverage or have they actually improved.

And do the owners pay for this service?

MilwaukeeMike said:

Is it still valid to laugh at AT&T's network coverage or have they actually improved.

And do the owners pay for this service?

I only think they get heat for their LTE network. 3G is probably fine.

And it doesn't really matter right now anyway. Anyone who owns a Tesla lives in a city. You can't drive a Tesla more than a couple hundred miles before it needs a recharge, so it's not like anyone is going to be out in the middle of nowhere without a signal.

JC713 JC713 said:

Is it still valid to laugh at AT&T's network coverage or have they actually improved.

And do the owners pay for this service?

They are one of the biggest, if not the largest, carrier in America other than Verizon.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

Someday all cars will be made this way. You may be even able to specify your carrier of choice if you're lucky.

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