Audi announces its AT&T 4G LTE pricing, but is CarPlay a better option?


Audi has announced its 4G LTE deal with AT&T to put high speed mobile data in your car, and it isn't cheap! The first model to get it built in is the new 2015 A3, and the good news is that it's a standard option and everyone gets a free six-month trial first. After that the costs roll in, but with CarPlay now being an actual thing, is it a better all round option?

Audi of America and AT&T announced new data plans for the all-new 2015 A3 sedan, which debuts this month, and will enable the first-ever in-vehicle 4G LTE data connection in North America. The data plans will be competitively priced, starting at $99 for a 6-month plan and $499 for a 30-month plan.

In addition to the two dedicated plans, Audi has also stated that come this summer customers will be able to add their cars to their AT&T Mobile Share plan. That's right, your car. The prices are pretty high, sure, but CarPlay – at least in vehicles that will have it – looks to be a much better proposal.

We'll ignore the fact that your in-car display basically becomes your iPhone and all its goodies, but it also uses your iPhones data connection. So, streaming music, navigation, accessing the web, all uses your existing data plan. And it's inside your car. So for us, the ones paying for all this and actually driving these cars the end result is the same – or likely better – without the added cost of an extra $499 every 2-and-a-half years.

Audi isn't the only car maker embedding 4G LTE technology into its cars, either. GM showed us an example of its efforts back at CES with its own appstore as well. But an extra data connection requires an extra cost incurred by us, the consumers. If CarPlay will simply plug our existing setup and data plan into our cars, is there really much need for a future for proprietary systems?

Source: Audi

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Richard Devine

Senior Editor at iMore, part time racing driver, full time British guy

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Reader comments

Audi announces its AT&T 4G LTE pricing, but is CarPlay a better option?


Well, since Audi isn't currently listed as supporting CarPlay, CarPlay isn't (yet) an option for Audi customers.

But is that price the device cost? Or does it include data? If so, how much.

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I know Audi hasn't partnered yet (hence questioning the future for proprietary systems), this might well be why :)

The price is the cost of subscribing to data. $99 for 5GB or 6-months, or $499 for 30GB or 30-months, presumably whichever comes first.

MobileShare will be much cheaper. The idea of an 8 device hotspot is intriguing. Certainly more than what an iPhone would give you (though I have no idea how one could use 8 devices in a sedan).

Depends on what they charge to share the data. I'd be inclined, where I lease for 36 months (but trade six months early) to go with the 30 month option. But still high.

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$16/mo is high? I need to get to your country, as here in the US, $16/mo for LTE data is extremely difficult to come by (AT&T aint cheap)

$99 for 5GB of data is high, especially when it can only be used inside of a very confined space as a car. You would be better served purchasing a Mifi device and enabling/disabling service as needed.

Yikes! Still, an interesting concept. Could be why they are not an initial partner.

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For some features it does make sense if the car has its own data link. There are things like remote diagnosis, remote lock, find my car, statistics and fleet management that can't really rely on a smartphone being in the car all the time. I added the handy feature to remotely control the auxiliary heating in mine, so arriving at an cold car and wasting time scratching and wiping windows is history. But you really don't need LTE for any of these. Navigation and traffic warnings do not need bandwidth that high either, even audio streaming does not need more than 3G. As I don't need video streaming or video telephony in my car, I would rather stick with my much cheaper plan for the car (mine is something like 45 Euros per year).

I have a similar plan thru T-Mobile in my 2013 Audi A4. I had to pay for it separately ($15/month if you bought it for the 30 months in advance.) It's only 3G, but it enables Google Earth to be superimposed on your nav screen, which is pretty cool, and provides great access to all sorts of destinations for the nav system, plus the WiFi hotspot for any devices that happen to be in the car with you. Of course, this is completely separate from my normal Verizon data contract. However, I'm not sorry that I spent the money on the T-Mobile thing.

I really like the sound of CarPlay, but until it becomes more widely available I’ll continue using “Harken For iPhone” in the car. It’s much easier to use than Apple’s music player (bigger text, large buttons/touch areas). There’s also “Harken” on the iPad but I need a new cradle for my iPad so I can’t use it at the moment.

If I were in my car all day long this might be appealing but I'd much rather just use my phone which is with me all day anyway. Anything I'm doing in the car, I can pick it right back up when I get out. Plus to really get your money's worth are you really going to us that many features while driving and do it safely?

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