Premium Connectivity-Alternative

Premium Connectivity-Alternative

Like many, I recently received the email notifying me that my complimentary Premium Connectivity would end 12/31/19. I could continue by subscribing for 9.99/mo.

I have unlimited minutes and data with Verizon on my iPhone.

I tried to connect using my iPhone as a wireless hotspot. And lo and behold it worked. It continued to stream music and the satellite map view. I also pulled off the road using the hotspot and all the entertainment features continued to work.

I'll post an update after 12/31/19.

To connect:
-enable hotspot on your phone
-tap the cellular icon, upper right screen, and select your phone as the wifi source
-enter the password on your phone, enter and enjoy the hotspot.

For the vast majority of my travel I am within 1hr from home with excellent cell service from Verizon wh/ gives me a strong hotspot.

If you don't have unlimited minutes 10/mo is very reasonable.

mazinyen129267 | 09. desember 2019

Were you able to get live traffic visualization when using your phone as a hot spot?

jimglas | 09. desember 2019

you can do this
But I doubt your cell data cost would be less than $10/mo?

drchris3 | 09. desember 2019

I was able to get every premium connectivity feature. I am hoping that all the features are available if you have your own connectivity. Home wifi, phone hotspot wifi, etc.

The traffic updates were available. I was off cellular and using my iPhone hotspot.

I'll be interested to know if anyone else has tried this option.

drchris3 | 09. desember 2019

I have a Verizon plan that has unlimited data.

wiscy67 | 09. desember 2019

My understanding is if you don't pay up then you will revert to Standard Connectivity after your premium subscription ends. So you wouldn't have satellite map or live traffic visualization once that happens regardless of how you're connecting, right?

For me I am considering using my phone as a hot spot as that way I'll be able to use the car's voice commands with its Spotify app (I have the family plan) for streaming music. I will be forced to use Standard maps which includes live traffic (re)routing but without traffic visualizations but that may be ok for me.

casun | 09. desember 2019

it won’t work well. your provider will throttle your “unlimited” data.

CharleyBC | 09. desember 2019

Sounds reasonable, @drchris3. As you said, provided one has unlimited data on one's phone plan. Looking forward to your January follow-up!

lilbean | 09. desember 2019

Sounds right, @wiscy.

Devilstower | 09. desember 2019

@drchris3 check your plan carefully -- even an unlimited data plan doesn't usually include unlimited hotspot use. In fact, I'm unaware of any plan that includes this. The unlimited data is ... limited, in that it only includes data used on the device itself.

stebo1 | 09. desember 2019

Google charges a per use fee for the Satellite and Live Traffic stuff. Tesla is only trying to cover their own costs. If you look at the premium vs standard connectivity, you will see that the maps stuff is not included. It works now because your trial has not run out. I am sure Tesla will drag it’s feet shutting it off when your trial is over, I can imagine you getting it for a little bit over Jan.

I also had data through my cell phone but it’s a real pain in the rear to connect it and then reconnect it. When you put the car into D, it disconnects you from Wifi and you have the manually tether again. I will pay the $10 bucks for convenience alone and keep my cell tethering at a minimum.

stebo1 | 09. desember 2019

This guy did an excellent breakdown of why Tesla needs to charge extra for Live Maps and Traffic visualization.

rehutton777 | 10. desember 2019

mazinyen129267: Doesn't look like anyone has responded to your question re: live traffic visualization. You can get this directly on your phone from Google Maps, and the display is better than what I have seen on the car's touch screen.

drchris3 | 10. desember 2019

The hotspot setting on the iPhone is very easy to use. The car finds it every time I open the car door to get in. It goes from a cellular indicator to a wifi indicator. When I touch the wifi icon it reveals my phone as the 'network' the wifi is signed into. I do not have to enter the hotspot password every time, just once.

the 10/mo is not exorbitant, I just don't see the value for those w/ unlimited data with their phone carrier. I live in the burbs of Philadelphia and the live traffic is really not so great and if I schedule a trip traffic is taken into account with the route. I can live without satellite maps. I like my local radio stations and am hoping I don't lose them when the complimentary connectivity expires.

The entertainment options, for me, are mostly worthless. There are very few times I would prefer to sit in my car and watch TV/Netflix/HULU/YouTube.

My software updates always occur in my garage where I am connected to my home wifi.

Maybe Tesla will add value to PC in the future. I am not opposed to the monthly fee, I just need to see some value.

I opted for EAP when I bought the car last year. I upgraded to FSD this past year when offered. I am not averse to supporting Tesla. I love what they stand for.

82bert | 10. desember 2019

@rehutton777. Huh? Following maps on your phone is better than the giant mid-dash screen in my Tesla with crystal clear clarity and rapidly responsive touch???

EVRider | 10. desember 2019

I suggest that anyone with questions about Premium or Standard Connectivity check out Tesla’s support article: Regarding the OP’s question, the hotspot will work for everything except satellite views and traffic visualization, so if you can live without those, you’re good to go.

jimmy_macd | 10. desember 2019

I agree that the $9.99/m is reasonable. I'm not sure I use it enough personally to warrant it but wife does for sure.

With regards using your hotspot Tesla make specific mention in the official blurb.

From Tesla FAQ
"Can I get Premium Connectivity features by using a mobile hotspot?
Some features that are available to Standard Connectivity owners over Wi-Fi such as video streaming, Caraoke and the internet browser may also be accessed over mobile hotspots, subject to fees and restrictions of your mobile carrier."

bjrosen | 10. desember 2019

What hotspot? I thought the Model 3 doesn't have a hotspot. A hot spot is where a device provides a WiFI connect to other devices. I've been using my phone to provide a hotspot for my wife. In my Volt I had an unlimited hotspot plan through OnStar which cost $20/month, I cancelled that plan when I got the M3 because we do all of our traveling in the Model 3 now.

jimmy_macd | 10. desember 2019

@bjoresen It is your phone hotspot that is being referenced in these posts as a way to not sub to Teslas connectivity plan.

gballant4570 | 10. desember 2019

Most mobile phone "unlimited" data plans are based on low data usage by small screen mobile devices. If this works with the OP's phone plan, fine. I think most will find it easier to subscribe, if they are interested in keeping the features. Those of use who ordered prior to June 30 2018 only have to make this choice on subsequent Tesla vehicle purchases.....

tperugino | 10. desember 2019

I have Verizon unlimited as well, but there is a limit to HotSpot data usage. 15GB a month @ LTE speeds I believe, after which it will tether down to 600 Kbps

drchris3 | 10. desember 2019

tperugino, I appreciate that tip. I will see how it plays out in January after my complimentary PC has expired. Not opposed to paying the subscription fee, just would like to see value for the dollar spent.

coleAK | 10. desember 2019

Does anyone know if the app functions like pre heat still work through cell data without premium connection?

Thrillion | 10. desember 2019

@drchris3 So you still have Premium Connectivity until the 31st right?
Did you some how turn off this connectivity to run your test?

It seams all you did was sign in to your phones hotspot to see if it connected.
Not sure you can confirm anything else until after the 31st.

CRAIGJFIFTY3 | 10. desember 2019

It may have changed since I checked, but Verizon charges $20/month for mobile hot spot through the phone.

drchris3 | 10. desember 2019

tperugino (above) is correct. Verizon allows 15GB/line/mo before it tethers down to 600kbps. There is no extra charge for the hotspot if you are an unlimited subscriber.

I could not figure how to toggle PC on and off. Therefore I was only able to confirm that everything worked using my phone as a wifi hotspot.

Looking forward to the January experiment.

Joshan | 10. desember 2019

@rehutton777 you bought a Tesla so you can stare at your phone while driving to save $10? ok than... to each their own.

tucsonsims | 10. desember 2019


You might want to double check but I think the car will only receive a wifi signal when its in Park.

rxlawdude | 10. desember 2019

Just FYI, with T-Mobile, you get unlimited hotspot data , with up to 20GB of 4G and >20GB speed reduced to 3G.

Not to mention the international calling and messaging features included with T-Mobile.

rxlawdude | 10. desember 2019


No, you can get to WiFi while driving. It's not intuitive. Hit the LTE icon and you'll see WiFi Settings. You then need to turn WiFi on, and then connect with your hotspot.

Easy peasy.

Wanderer | 10. desember 2019

I plan to pay $10/mo and support the mission!

Joshan | 10. desember 2019

from what people say on TWC at least you cannot get traffic from the phone as a hotspot. This means your NoaP and future FSD updates will have no idea how to route the car and will route you through traffic. I can see many potential issues with this.

I get being frugal, this is being pennywise but dollar stupid. These will be the same people who come here and complain when they run out of energy going to a SC because the car lacked data to make good decision.

drchris3 | 10. desember 2019

This is what you get for PC. There is nothing on the Tesla support site to imply that there is any other benefit.

Connectivity Packages

Included Premium
$9.99 /mo plus applicable tax
Navigation ✓ ✓
Live Traffic Visualization - ✓
Satellite-View Maps - ✓
Video Streaming* - ✓
Caraoke* - ✓
Music Streaming* - ✓
Internet Browser* - ✓

Not about being frugal. Other than supporting "mission" what is the value. I, and probably many others, can afford the 10/mo subscription, the question is whether there is any value.

If you want to send Elon a donation Im sure he would be glad to accept. In a way I am supporting the mission by owning the car, opting for EAP and buying into FSD.

radean84 | 10. desember 2019

I still have until mid Jan on my free trial and also have Verizon unlimited plan. The only thing keeping me from paying for premium at the moment is the lack of Google Play Music. That's my favorite music service and I use it with all of my devices at home. Got the family plan for wife, in-laws, etc. If Tesla adds on-screen support for GPM I'd switch over to Premium right now. Until then, I'll stick with Bluetooth streaming for free. It's not the $10 that bothers me, it's signing up for another service like Spotify when I'm already happy with the service I have. I was not at all impressed with Slacker. Tesla, please add Google Play Music! :)

Joshan | 10. desember 2019

The towing bill from running out of energy because you have no traffic data and get stuck in traffic would be years worth of PC...

bradbomb | 10. desember 2019

The Nav will still do traffic routing, but you just do not get the traffic visualizations (red and orange lines showing traffic)

Joshan | 10. desember 2019

if accurate that's not quite as bad.

bradbomb | 10. desember 2019


Will Standard Connectivity affect in-car maps and routing?
No. All cars with Standard Connectivity will continue to receive the same core maps & navigation functionality as cars with Premium Connectivity, including traffic-based routing, Trip Planner and Supercharger stall availability. Premium Connectivity will add satellite-view maps and live traffic visualization.

Joshan | 10. desember 2019

thanks for the link brad!

gballant4570 | 10. desember 2019

If you're trying to jump thru hoops to get your phone hooked up to supply the service, I think you already answered the value question......