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Imported US made Tesla and changing LTE provider?

Imported US made Tesla and changing LTE provider?

I have a friend in Jordan who imported a US made Model S 70D (March 2016). Now the Tesla Service Center opened in Jordan, he went to them to get internet in his car as he was trying to get the LTE module (or SIM card) replaced to support a local internet provider so he gets live maps, radio streaming and such. He was surprised that the local Tesla Service Center can only service EU made Teslas. That came as a surprise to me as well.
I gave Tesla US a call and I visited the Service Center in San Diego but I couldn't get an answer to help my friend.
Any suggestions? I read somewhere that some people just bought a portable hotspot and left the car in WiFi mode connection to it.
It would be really great if Tesla overseas can assist. Your help is much appreciated.

reed_lewis | 19 april 2019

The portable hotspot does work, except for the fact that when you start the car, it disconnects from the WiFi because it does not think it will be near the WiFi anymore.

As to the wireless module, I do not know if the US models are 'locked down' to AT&T, and I seriously doubt that a local service center would know that also.

You basically need a new wireless module, which should be able to be purchased.

Earl and Nagin ... | 19 april 2019

One might be able to purchase a cellular pico-cell repeater. It connects into a broadband data line (eg. cable modem) via wired Ethernet and talks to cellphones via cellular frequency and LTE service. It might work with a portable hotspot with a local provider if that would provide an ethernet connection. All that I know of are only cellular to WiFi, however.
AT&T gave us a pico-cell for our house since the network cellular coverage at our house is very poor. I'm not sure where to buy them though.

Uncle Paul | 19 april 2019

Most providers in the US offer Pico-cell repeaters for their customers in areas of poor coverage. They do not work well if you have a good cell signal however.

This will not help a Tesla owner, as the Pico-cell need to be in a stationary location, plugged into local voltage and covers only a short area, like a residence.

Earl and Nagin ... | 19 april 2019

@Uncle Paul,
You could possibly carry the Pico-cell repeater with you in your car and connect its broadband connection to a cellular modem/hotspot from a local carrier.
The connection would be:
local cell service -> local mobile phone/hotspot -> ethernet -> Pico-cell -> Tesla's LTE modem
The Tesla LTE modem would think it's talking to an AT&T network.
There are likely to be provisioning issues as well as the challenge I mentioned above about finding a mobile phone connection to ethernet.
This is likely to be illegal though since the AT&T Pico-cell most likely is not licensed for operation in the foreign country (ie Jordan).

TeslaTap.com | 20 april 2019

Not sure this is helpful, but the US SIM card is buried inside the MCU and is far from easy to get to. On European build S, they changed the design so the SIM card can fairly easily be changed to match the country where the car is to be delivered. It's also possible the Cellular module is different for Europe. The module is also buried inside the MCU.

One idea is to find a totaled European S that is being parted out, buy the MCU, and replace your current one. Not all that easy, and it has some risks. You hope the used MCU is ok, and the Tesla software accepts it. I'd only try this if you find someone else that has successfully done it and can advise you. Good luck!

wisam.alrawi | 23 april 2019

Thank you guys for the valuable information ! I'll let my friend know. I'll contact Tesla Support and see if there is anything they can assist with.

wisam.alrawi | 10 maj 2019

So I just wanted to follow up as I heard back from my friend.

Tesla Jordan was able to replace the US SIM card with a local one. However, my friend right now has only E (Edge) but no 3G.
Any idea on how to fix that? Is that a hardware limitation? Does he need to try a different provider? Can it be resolved with a software fix by Tesla?

I sincerely appreciate any help or leads on this.

jordanrichard | 12 maj 2019

Surprised that your friend didn’t do better research before buying a U.S. spec car. Any car from one country while may be structurally the same, doesn’t mean it can be brought into another country and be useful or not require extensive changes. In Europe, cars require amber turn signals, but here in the states, the turn signals can be either red or amber. Tires in Europe have to have a speed rating of H (up to 130 mph). Here in the states, there is no such requirement. A number of years ago when I was in the Air Force, a colleague got orders to England and he was going to bring his Honda Odessey with him. He had to not only get the appropriate tires, but new rear tail lamps with amber turn signals and then he had to get amber signals put in the front fenders. It was quite the ordeal.

Point being, and again, I find it surprising that your friend didn’t do better research.

Earl and Nagin ... | 12 maj 2019

@wisam.alrawi,
EDGE actually was one of the 3G technologies. It just was not selected as THE 3G technology by Europe which insisted that there be only one '3G'.
However, as rolled out, EDGE doesn't offer the higher speeds for which it was originally designed so it may not be as satisfying as UMTS, the '3G' technology that Europe actually adopted as such.
The limitation may be the SIM card he got, but more likely, 3G service in Jordan probably is in a different frequency band from the US 3G service and the Tesla modem likely doesn't support that band, while it probably does support the 900 or 1800 MHz bands where EDGE operates there. The only hope would probably be to get Tesla Jordan to provide a new cellular modem that handles the 3G band. That could be expensive though.

danieldepena | 29 maj 2019

@wisam.alrawi, theres anyway your friend provide how the change the sim card, i would like to apply a new sim card to my M3 i have the car in the Caribbean at the moment.

wisam.alrawi | 9 juni 2019

Thank you guys for all the replies!

@danieldepena the Tesla service center in Jordan assisted him. But even after changing the sim card he only got Edge. The next best option was to replace the entire MCU. I don't know what happened with that. They quoted him the price though.
I bet the Model 3 is a lot easier to do that since Tesla simplified things. You will probably need a service manual from Tesla to assist with that.