New Volvos will get AT&T connectivity starting this summer

Volvo 2015 S60

AT&T will put the connected in Volvo’s connected cars here in the U.S. and Canada starting with model year 2015 vehicles being released this summer. AT&T will provide the mobile internet link to Volvo’s updated Sensus Connect infotainment system as well as the Volvo On Call telematics system, which allows a driver to access his car remotely from a smartphone app and lets the car call for help in an emergency.

It’s pretty safe to say AT&T is winning the car connectivity race. The Audi A3 and all Tesla vehicles are already rolling off lots embedded with AT&T wireless modules, and starting this summer half a dozen GM models will get their connectivity through AT&T’s LTE network. AT&T is also working with Nissan and SiriusXM for telematics services.

Volvo's connected dashboard (source: Volvo)

Volvo’s connected dashboard (source: Volvo)

Whether these new Volvos will be among the emerging number of 4G cars in the U.S. remains to be seen. In its announcement, AT&T only said it would provide “high-speed wireless connectivity,” which likely means that Volvo is going with a cheaper EDGE/HSPA+ module, in some models at least. Basic telematics features such as remote unlock or monitoring don’t require a lot of bandwidth, but the more advanced features of Volvo’s evolving Sensus infotainment system will require a bit more juice.

Volvo is using Ericsson’s new vehicle cloud services platform to control a bevy of new internet-enabled car services such as 3D navigation, parking spot location and payment through Parkopedia, points of interest information and recommendations through Wikipedia and Yelp, and multiple streaming and location-based services such Pandora, Rdio and Glympse. The real data drain, however, will come from a new Wi-Fi hotspot being integrated into new vehicles, letting passengers connect their tablets and smartphones to the in-car network.

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