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.
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.