GM says new 4G LTE services will cost $5 to $50 a month

The main menu screen of a research Cadillac ATS equipped with 4G LTE connectivity.
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DETROIT -- Monthly subscription rates for General Motors' 4G LTE data connection through OnStar will range from $5 to $50 a month depending on usage, the company said today.

GM plans to roll out the 4G service in June starting with the 2015 Chevrolet Malibu. The 4G connection, notably faster than the widely available 3G service, will be offered across most of GM's lineup for the 2015 model year.

GM also said it will delay a planned launch of AppShop, a suite of about a dozen applications that owners can download directly to their vehicle's infotainment unit. GM said the feature won't be ready for 2015 vehicles as originally planned, but that it still plans to offer it at some point.

Vehicle buyers will get three months of 4G service or up to 3 gigabytes of use, whichever comes first.

After the trial period, owners can pay for the service on a sliding scale based on usage. Those who already subscribe to OnStar's existing safety and security service or its navigation service will pay lower rates for some monthly plans.

• 200 megabytes (enough to stream about six hours of music or use the Internet for 13 hours): $5 for OnStar subscribers; $10 for non-subscribers.

• 1 GB: $15 for subscribers; $20 for non-subscribers.

• 3 GB: $30 for subscribers and non-subscribers.

• 5 GB: $50 for subscribers and non-subscribers.

GM also will offer one-time purchases of $5 a day (for subscribers) and $10 (non-subscribers) for 250 MB of use and $150 (subscribers) and $200 (non-subscribers) for a month of up to 10 GB.

GM will be the first automaker to offer an embedded 4G service across most of its vehicle lineup. Audi recently introduced the feature on its A3.

The service will offer a hot spot that will provide a high-speed Internet connection to up to seven wireless devices. GM said the embedded signal also will provide a faster, more reliable connection than connections provided through smartphones and tablets.

GM believes the 4G feature will be a differentiator that persuades buyers to choose a GM vehicle.

"It's all about bringing more value thru the connection to the customer," OnStar Chief Operating Officer Terry Inch said in an interview.

Inch said the addition of broadband Internet should enhance the appeal of OnStar, launched in 1996 as a safety and security feature.

OnStar "becomes more of the platform onto which you can build additional services," Inch said.

You can reach Mike Colias at mcolias@crain.com.


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