Tesla taps AT&T for 4G LTE

Tesla taps AT&T for 4G LTE

stevenmaifert | 17 ottobre 2013

They posted a correction. No 4G LTE. Basically, it looks like they renewed the contract for what the car already does.

2-Star | 17 ottobre 2013

I wonderful if an upgrade to AT&T LTE will be offered sometime. Anybody heard anything?

AmpedRealtor | 17 ottobre 2013

I believe the cellular chipset in the car can handle 4G/HSPA+ which has a higher data rate than 3G, but is not LTE. It wouldn't surprise me if our cars started to show a 4G connection at some point in the future, but not LTE because we do not have the hardware.

Gizmotoy | 17 ottobre 2013

HSPA+ is not actually 4G, despite AT&T's branding efforts. It's an extension of existing 3G protocols. LTE is AT&T's chosen actual 4G protocol. That's why they had to make a retraction on the article.

That said, yes, the modem in the Model S supposedly supports HSPA+.

redders | 17 ottobre 2013

What a screw up! Not sure how it happened, but it's only a story if it's 4G LTE.

So the big news story has gone from wowie, isn't this amazing to er, nothing to see here, move along

AmpedRealtor | 17 ottobre 2013

My iPhone 4S shows 4G when it is using an HSPA+ connection. However it is branded, higher HSPA+ data rates should be available to all Model S owners once Tesla flips the switch. While it's no LTE, it is appreciably faster than 3G.

Gizmotoy | 17 ottobre 2013

@Amped: Yes, because Apple is AT&T's partner and they asked them to. That doesn't change the fact that it's still 3G. It is faster than regular 3G, though.

Some history: The reason AT&T created this confusion in the first place is because Verizon beat them to actual 4G LTE by more than a year and they needed some way to make it sound like they weren't behind in their roll-out. It was relatively cheap to update their 3G towers to support the enhancement to buy some time for actual LTE implementation, so they did that.

GeekEV | 17 ottobre 2013

Originally the ITU standards body that regulates such things said anything less than LTE was not 4G. They later relented under carrier pressure and said anything faster than 3G could be called 4G. So, technically, HSPS+ is 4G after all.

PapaSmurf | 17 ottobre 2013

If my iPhone has tethering and the phone has a strong 4G/LTE signal, then wouldn't that WIFI contection from iPhone --> Model S be the best option for data?

DrJ | 17 ottobre 2013

Yes. I borrowed at p85+ yesterday while mine was being serviced. It had 5.0 software in it, and I turned on the wifi and tethered my iphone 5 as a hotspot to it. Worked great, and would recognize and immediately pick it up when I left and then return to the car. Biggest notice was maps loading much more quickly. Will definitely be doing this when they start releasing 5.0, which my local Tesla tech said the rumor is within 2 weeks.

Rob NJ | 18 ottobre 2013

Does anyone know if this means that ATT 3G will be free for the forseeable future post this agreement?

Or can we expect an announcement soon that they are going to start charging and offer us data plans?

I'm all for tethering 4G, but no data plan means the app won't work, correct?

hammy16 | 18 ottobre 2013

A friend sent this today which has a bit more information.

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.

Robert22 | 18 ottobre 2013

Use the stolen vehicle locater capability to reduce your insurance considerably. It was the same as a LoJack discount with my insurer. This is somewhat dependent on how well you sell it to the phone rep so take a second to plan your script.

Anyone with the 5.0 update using one of the new unlimited (talk , text, data) T-Mobile plans for tethering? There are some interesting cost saving aspects with their hotspot functionality coupled with one of their simple choice plans. With the basic plan speed steps down from 4G LTE to 2G after 500MB, but T-Mobile is re-farming spectrum in major cities so the stepdown to 2G is gradually being replaced with 3G. I've yet to see a better plan for the money if you can get a good signal (not a problem in most major metropolitan areas).

riceuguy | 18 ottobre 2013

Correction: T-Mobile, not AT&T first claimed HSPA+ was 4G. T-Mobile didn't yet have spectrum to promise 4G in the future, but their HSPA+ was on par with the early LTE speed, so they called their HSPA+ 4G (and won the right to keep calling it 4G; now they offer "4G" and "4G LTE"). That said, for those with T-Mobile, check out the new plans as of this week; lots more tethering data available than before! Cheap!

Hodas | 19 ottobre 2013

Actually it was AT&T. They convinced Apple to use the 4G indicator when on HSPA+ in iOS 6. It was not really wrong as their HSPA+ was faster than other rolled out 4G at the time.

Roamer@AZ USA | 19 ottobre 2013

It is a little bit of a letdown to have that beautiful 17 inch display and watch it crawl along at Fred Flintstone speed. I tend to use my iPad and iPhone rather than wait for things to load on the flat panel. The GPS is painfully slow and extremely limited in function. I usually just use my mini IPad map apps.

I use Verizon on all my devices and love the speed and performance. Tough to hammer the accelerator in a Tesla and enjoy the WARP speed then use the Stone Age speed flat panel.

I could care less about no charge 3G. I would add the car to my Verizon data plan and pay for the data in a flash.

Brian H | 19 ottobre 2013

T-Mobile also allows roaming into Canada without cost or hassle, AFAIK.

ModelSD | 20 ottobre 2013

Does this mean that Tesla will no longer be paying the bill for the internet connection?

PapaSmurf | 20 ottobre 2013

I wonder if the entire 17 inch display can be replaced / upgraded in a few years as we get faster hardware and cell networks. I cannot imagine this thing still being cool in 4 years. The Model S in 2017 is likely going to get a refresh.

Wouldn't it be great if we could purchase a swap of our PC unit in the earlier cars so that we are on the latest processor and network technology?