Keep the Unlimited 3G Plan!

Keep the Unlimited 3G Plan!

Right now, all owners of a MS enjoy unlimited 3G data to access the Internet, which I think is fantastic.
However, it is known that Tesla plans to start charging for the data (starting November or December 2013) soon, which is to my dismay because I do not want my car's enjoyability being controlled by shit companies such as: AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, etc.
Do you want to pay for data on a monthly basis? I believe this will discourage some people from actually getting a data plan, and instead opt to just buy a GPS and not use the fantastic screen inside the Model S.

I think that Tesla should continue to fund the 3G in all the MS cars, regardless of how they are doing it.

Your thoughts?

Tâm | 10. november 2013


So you don't want AT&T, Verizon, Sprint etc, then which one do you want to pay for?

Right now, you can configure your Tesla to use your cell phone WiFi.

There is no reason that you have to use the big 3 3G if you don't like them.

Tesla only said you can use Supercharger for free forever (with activation) but it has repeatedly said that you will have to pay for the monthly data plan very soon (and it has been over 1 year very soon.)

Jolinar | 11. november 2013

well, you don't have to pay, just tether your phone or tablet internet connection (you need software version 5+ in the car), no big deal, right?

Neech | 11. november 2013

I don't have 5.6 yet so I don't know what it can do, but I know the last company I want to deal with is AT&T. I've read rumors that 4G will be through AT&T. I don't want to have to pay for verizon and AT&T and I will never switch over to only using AT&T for cell service. I'd be happy with the 3G as it is.

JaredBanyard | 11. november 2013

Who do you think your 3G connection is currently be controlled by? Just because Tesla is footing the bill doesn't mean you aren't already slave to these companies. Same goes for tethering to your phone.

hnashif | 11. november 2013

The 3G currently in the car is provided by AT&T.

togliat | 11. november 2013

Would a tethered 4G LTE phone introduce new performance on the Tesla OS and attendant screen refreshes? Just curious because this might eventually be a solution to paying for two data plans, per the OP's complaint, one with the car, and a second with your smart phone with data plan.

elguapo | 11. november 2013

Tethered access seems to do nothing to increase performance. I have 5.6 there's no perceptable difference between 3G and thethering with Verizone LTE. Others have reported little/no difference as well.

As it realtes to the 3G, Tesla has always said we'd have to pay eventually, so I have no issue with it. Others, like Audi, charge a monthly fee, so it's not out of market. The question will just be how much does it cost? I think Audi is $14.95. Anything more is too much, IMO.

dtesla | 11. november 2013

Tesla is giving you the option to go through them (they pick the provider) or tether via any company of your choosing. If you don't like 3G you can go WiFi. If people choose to purchase a supplemental GPS to Navigate... well that is there choice. All you have to do is choose your poison. I don't know how Tesla can be more flexible then that.

Lastly there is nothing "free" from a company. If they give you free 3G, they will just jack up the price of the car to cover the free 3G. Personally I would choose this option. Or better yet, the choice of a flat upfront fee that gives me "free" 3G for life or pay month to month. Any free for life plan should be transferable to all future owners.

jai9001 | 11. november 2013

Sounds like we will have a choice.

1. Pay tesla for slow 3G service.

2. Pay our cell provider for tethering 4G/LTE high speed service and get use of the tethering outside of the car as well.

Unless Tesla adds an LTE upgrade for free, seems like a no brainer.

Sudre_ | 11. november 2013

I get youyouxue's point but I think at some time it is only right that we pay for the wireless service.... whomever we choose to use.

Right now the car uses AT&T. I have been screwed so many times by AT&T that I will never pay them money again. I am more than happy to use it for free because they do not have my billing info so they can not illegally bill me for stuff I don't want or has been canceled.... and what I mean by that is I had to go to my attorney general of my state and file a claim before AT&T would refund me for services I never wanted or signed up for. Plus once I canceled all my services ATT continued billing for months afterward even tho I called them every month to re-cancel... and yes they did bill me the cancellation fee the first time I canceled but they continued billing me month after month for the services.

I already use my smart phone for mapping. The Tech package mapping system has received such inferior reports that I am still glad I didn't get it. My cell phone is the perfect size to pretty much snap in right where the driving direction would be on the Tesla. The almost exact same extremely expensive APP Tesla uses is cheap on the Android market for my phone and it includes offline maps too (altho I don't use it because it was disappointing).

If it turns out I need 4G I will purchase a new phone since my two year old one could use an update then leave my old phone hidden and tethered in the car plugged into a USB charging port. I would rather spend a little more than deal with ATTs really bad customer automated transfer around until you get hung-up on system.

I will admit that where I live ATT does have good signal strength.
I just won't use them.

jat | 11. november 2013

You already are using AT&T, the only difference is that Tesla is footing the bill. Everyone knew when they bought the car the free ride wouldn't last forever. Personally, I am just hopeful that I can put my own SIM in it.

Jewsh | 11. november 2013

In Canada no doubt we will end up on the Robbers (Rogers) network. Their prices are insane and coverage in my area is regrettably extremely limited. (My wife paid a minimum of $85.00/mo for a BIS blackberry plan. She never goes over her minutes and uses my phone for long distance. The price is just Rogers being Rogers. By comparison Wind is $40/mo, every month.)

That said I don't want to lose remote connectivity to my car... looks like I'll be signing up for Rogers soon. Sigh.

robeal | 11. november 2013

So basically I will have a choice between paying a monthly fee and have a car with GPS or not paying a monthly fee and not having a car with GPS?

How does that make any sense. | 11. november 2013

If you have the tech package, GPS works without the data plan. The Garmin database in local in the car. Without data, you can still enter an address and the instrument display will show you the route.

Without data you will not get the Google map or web access, as they require a data connection. | 11. november 2013

If you are in the US, your current connection is on AT&T. Where Tesla goes next is a little unclear. The next step-up from 3G on the AT&T network is 4G/HSPA which is a decent bump in speed. Since it is essentially 3G on steroids, there is a good chance that this can be rolled out with the existing Model S hardware (radio + antenna). It really depends on exactly what HW Tesla used. The next step up is 4G/LTE which is significantly faster. LTE requires new hardware. It would likely be implemented as one of those on-the-fly upgrades. I have no idea how easy/hard it would be to retrofit LTE HW, but I would not hold my breath.

As many folks pointed out, you can tether after 5.6 so you can pick your own carrier. Apparently the Model S actually has two SIMs--one for Tesla's use and one for us, so Tesla can still pull their telematics even if you don't buy into the connectivity package.

Use volkerize, there were a couple of hefty threads on this a month or so ago.


Theresa | 11. november 2013

I am not sure in which of these threads that I read it but I thought I had read that the current hardware does not support 4G and is not upgradable to do it either. So those of you who are thinking your performance will improve are most likely mistaken.

Now I for one will get improvement just by being able to get off AT&T which is what Tesla is now providing. In this area of the country my maps are basically worthless about half the time since they can't get a signal to update with. I am not sure why they couldn't be cached for when you have no signal but that is another question entirely.

Theresa | 11. november 2013

omar beat me to the punch.

compchat | 11. november 2013

Little bit unfair. I ordered my model S in early October and they are still sourcing the parts. What is actually going on I have no idea. I should get the deal I signed up for which is free 3g. Not my fault Tesla is so successful it takes 3 months from order to delivery :(

Sudre_ | 11. november 2013

Free 3g was absolutely and never in anyone's contract.

dtesla | 11. november 2013

Except Signature MS get free 3G for 3 years. My non-signature MS gets free 3G for 3 months (long past that now). I don't see 3 months free 3G on the web site anymore... did that get deleted or did I just miss it? It may not be shown because it's N/A until they start billing people.

Yme | 11. november 2013

3G/4G what about antennae?

ref TeslaTap: "
If you have the tech package, GPS works without the data plan. The Garmin database in local in the car. Without data, you can still enter an address and the instrument display will show you the route.

Without data you will not get the Google map or web access, as they require a data connection."

How do I get GPS without Googlemap? I have the Tech package, but when in poor reception areas I do not get a map...hence I cannot see where the road is leading me...are you saying I still have GPS? If yes, for what if it is not displayed on a map?

The comments of using a phone/pad to tether to seems doable, however the reception of 4G inside a car may not be that great. As a minimum we should have some kind of connection to an antennae?
Having said that with all the hardware in the car the only viable solution would be to integrate this in the car system. I vote for free for life connection and of course an in car upgrade to latest technology (seems to be 4G, LTE for now)

gtimbers | 11. november 2013

GPS without 3G is dependent on your definition. Every other car on the planet includes map views and operation without putting in an address. Same with any hand held device. This is my definition of automotive GPS. I expect to be able to look at street layouts without having to put in an address. It is bad enough thats this function doesn't work reliably with ATT 3G due to reception problems. I do not want to pay for this crappy service when I already paid for it in the Technology package. I paid for a 17" screen and full functioning GPS. I don't care about internet, traffic, Google maps or Gracenote. If I want those I'll pay for them. Tesla can either continue to provide the complete GPS function on their own SIM, or they can make the data available via onboard memory or even a USB stick. That map system in the instrument cluster is crap

tes-s | 11. november 2013

I think they will continue free 3g in the US until they fully rollout software that allows tethering.

dtesla | 11. november 2013

I wanted to get a feel for data usage on the MS so I tethered it to my phone and everything worked great. I estimated I use a couple of Gig per month. But everything about how you use the car affects your usage. Most of my maps are fairly zoomed out so I don't need many updates over the internet when I drive.

Notes: 1) I don't use that much internet radio. 2) I drive 1200 miles per month.

fluxemag | 11. november 2013

If tethering to your cellphone's 4G connection through WiFi doesn't provide any performance increase on the browser, there is no reason to believe adding it to the car's hardware would. It's most likely the processor/graphics unit that needs to also be updated. I'd pay good money for that. While they're at it, make audio output compatible with the browser (yes I'd like video too, but realize the laws and such). I will probably just pay the monthly for 3G so I can retain remote control of my car via the app.

jeffsstuff | 11. november 2013

I won't have my Model S until December so I may be mistaken here but, wouldn't tethering also have a limitation. You would not be able to use a smartphone app to operate the vehicle (turn on the A/C on a hot day for instance) since you presumably don't have your phone in your car at the time. I suppose you could dedicate a phone to providing connectivity to the car but that seams a bit of a kludge to me.

Captain_Zap | 11. november 2013


I recall 3G free for one year for Signatures. I don't recall if 3g was free for one or three months for Production cars.


You might try using a "hot spot" for the car.

P85D | 11. november 2013

I have 4K roller over minutes on AT&T so woot woot!

PaceyWhitter | 11. november 2013

You are not going to have to have an account with ATT to get 3G. If Tesla wanted to do that, they would have done it already.

What I expect is a tiered pricing system similar to what Mercedes uses. MBrace costs 280 a year for roadside assistance and remote access and another 14 a month for internet. | 11. november 2013

Yme - sorry if I wasn't clear. All cars have GPS and it works all the time. The issue may be that without an internet connection, the primary Google map will not appear. V5 software is supposed to do some caching, so perhaps if you connect via WiFi at home, it will cache some of the local area, so that it continues to display the Google maps from the cache. I have no idea how wide of a region the cache may work. Of course, there will not be any traffic data.

With the Tech package, you can enter an address, even without Google maps and set up navigation. This will appear on the instrument display and does not require any internet connection. It should provide complete routing to your destination. I've seen it work fine in areas where there is no internet connection.

I realize this is not the same as the wonderful Google map on the main display, but it is clever that the navigation works without the Internet connection.

I also remember that signatures got a full year of 3G service, and all others were to get 3 months. If you're beyond this point, I gather we are borrowed time, and once v5 fully rolls out, we'll be asked to pay for continued usage or switch to tethering.

portia | 11. november 2013

I have signature and I don't remember ever seeing other than 1 year free,
and it's more than one year for me, and Tesla hasn't said anything about charging for it to me.
Has anyone heard from Tesla about the cost of 3G service?

butwhyowhy | 11. november 2013

I have had a Lexus RX350 for the past five years and always had to pay for their connected services (Lexus Enform). I am guessing they will offer something similar to everyone else. One plan, $200-$300/year for all you can eat. Not a big deal if they do it this way.

HenryT2 | 11. november 2013

I'm planning on tethering because I hate the idea of paying for 2 ripoff data plans (ripoff because of the tiny limits - unlimited would be reasonable).

However, this will mean my app won't work. Without an always on internet connection, you won't be able to communicate with the car remotely. Kinda sucks, but I don't think being able to use the app is worth paying $30-40/month.

PaceyWhitter | 12. november 2013

Another thing to think about is that Tesla has not said what will and will not work if you chose not to pay them.

They could easily disable internet browsing or some other functionality even if you were choosing to tether to your phone. You cannot access the internet on a Mercedes without paying for MBrace. | 12. november 2013


I do not believe any plans have been published, so I am not sure we can make any judgements about limits, etc. I believe Elon is on the record saying that the pricing would essentially be a pass-through.

As far as the app goes, it works through Tesla's servers (you don't talk to the car directly), so I would guess it will continue to work regardless of your data plans, since the telematics connection is separate from the connectivity plan.

They might do this, but I doubt it. A web browser is advertised as part of the base functionality and Tesla has shown they are not interested in trying to nickel and dime us. The fact that they have left 3G access on until they could get tethering supported shows where their heads are at. I think they would be happy to remove the cost from their books.

Finally, at the Mobilize Conference as few weeks ago AT&T indicated it might be possible to add the Tesla to a shared data plan.


dfoxhw | 13. november 2013

What about Slacker and TuneIn radio? The owner's manual states that if your car is equipped with the connectivity package, then these music sources are available. No statements whatsoever about requiring a 3G subscription.

Yme | 13. november 2013

We have 2 different map systems!

Just realized today that we have 2 different and independent map and navigation systems in the Tesla model S (signature)

While driving on a relatively new piece of road the Google map on the 17" displayed the new road and the little arrow happily showed my position on it. However the little map in the instrument panel did not display the now road and the indicator of where the car was jumped about totally confused as to which of the surrounding roads it should position the arrow.

Goggle maps is more recent than the built in system.

Hopefully TM will ensure we get rapid updates of the maps.

(I have version 5.6 software)

Robert22 | 13. november 2013

Paid Connectivity packages will be bundled and include slacker and other "premium services" . No doubt they will be tempting when announced. Good point about phone app function being dead with tethering. That's going to be a serious bummer for those in cold weather climes. Guess I'll just have to have a cold butt for a few minutes if I want to save a few hundred a year.

Roamer@AZ USA | 13. november 2013

I would love to get rid of the crap free 3G and add my Tesla's to my Wonderful Verizon multi device 4G plan. My Verizon works wonderful on all my portable devices then I get in my Tesla and wait for Fred Flintstone to carve a screen display. The web browser is useless on 3G.

Your comment that people will not buy the service is laughable. I have to use my mini iPad NOW because the free car connection is so slow. Would love to be able to buy my own higher speed service.

The current free 3G is worth what you pay for it. Nothing. | 13. november 2013

I am guessing Tesla is dependent on Garmin pushing out the updates to the mapping DB. However, I wonder if that is something else that is awaiting the ability to be on wifi because pushing out a mapping DB update over 3G is gotta be painful.


Djinn1 | 14. november 2013

dumb question. If you didn't sign up for 3G, but instead chose to tether e.g. your iPhone when you are in the car ..... wouldn't you miss out on all of the wifi-based software updates? How else would you get wifi software updates if 3G is not activated? some of us live 100+ miles from the service centers....

Cindy I II III | 14. november 2013

I was told that
3G was free for 3 months - which will be two weeks away for me.
Navigation will not be impacted

Given how slow the app is for the 5.0 version, I tend to believe that it follows a different mechanism and will not be impacted by the absence of cell connection

Mathew98 | 14. november 2013

None of the owners have been charged for 3G connectivity since the first car rolled off the lot last year. The advertised 3 months of free service has not been enforced up to this point. Though it may change with the recent roll out of V5.6 software.

Owners also can tether their cell phone (and pay $30/month to use it as a hotspot) for the MS. But this is not as convenient as paying a similar price to have a dedicated service via TM.

I had upgraded to V5.6 this week and started tethering to my 4G MIFI router via Clearwire. I have been using the MIFI for over two years at $30/month. It is an unlimited plan so others in the vicinity can hop on to the router too. It beats paying my cellphone provider for using the phone as a hot spot with narrow bandwidth data limits.

If and when 5G or the next step up in cellular data occurs, I'll just upgrade the MIFI router and nothing has to change with the MS hardware.

Brian H | 14. november 2013

The updates use a separate SIM chip, and are not affected by your data plan. They are always available, and free.

danej | 14. november 2013

@Yme wrote:
> I vote for free for life connection and of course an in car upgrade to latest technology
> (seems to be 4G, LTE for now)

Here, take this instead:

Pungoteague_Dave | 15. november 2013

silly question: I now have 5.6 and would like to tether to my Verizon smartphone. The phone is connected via bluetooth, but that's not tethering. I have the newly enabled wifi connection set up at our houses - works great. Is the cellphone connection in there? I looked through all the settings menus and don't see how to set up a cell phone tether. What am I missing?

SUN 2 DRV | 15. november 2013

P Dave

You first need to config your Verizon phone to act as a WiFi Hotspot. (Specifically how depends on your phones OS)

Then your phone will show up in the Tesla screen as a WiFi access point just as your home WiFi did.

Alex K | 15. november 2013

@joehuber | NOVEMBER 15, 2013: You first need to config your Verizon phone to act as a WiFi Hotspot. (Specifically how depends on your phones OS)

If you have an iPhone on iOS 7, then you can say "Open Hotspot" to go directly to the hotspot settings.

noshird | 17. november 2013

If you kept your unlimited data plan with Verizon when upgrading your phone, you need to call customer service first to activate the Hotspot feature (and pay an additional monthly fee).

ZsoZso | 18. mars 2014

Sorry for resurrecting an old thread....

What is the state of the 3G connectivity now ? Is it still free, how long / is it 1 year from purchase or what is the system and costs afterwards ?

Also, any Canadian owners in the Toronto area: what is your experience in terms of coverage once you drive outside the city ? I know coverage in Muskoka / cottage-country is very much dependent on your cell provider and I have no clue what Canadian partner is used by Tesla (I read in the thread that in the US AT&T provides the service for Tesla).