Automakers have been installing WiFi hotspots into cars for years. Often, though, customers are locked into the service provider of the automaker’s choosing, but that’s about to change if you’re interested in a new Volkswagen. This week, the company announced Carrier Of Choice, a new program that gives VW owners – surprise – more choice when selecting a wireless carrier to provide the vehicle’s mobile hotspot.
VW has partnered with both Verizon and T-Mobile to offer WiFi hotspot capability through the company’s Car-Net service, which launched in 2014 and has since moved onto a new generation of software that allows for even deeper digital integration with the company’s lineup of vehicles. Customers can quickly and easily pair their existing mobile wireless account with their existing VW Car-Net subscription. Car-Net offers a suite of connected car features that include remote access, parking information, and more, with the information readily accessible through both iPhone and Android smartphones.
Existing T-Mobile and Verizon customers with existing data plans can simply add their vehicle as a new line to their existing monthly bill. Those without Verizon or T-Mobile can set up an unlimited plan for $20 a month plus any taxes and fees. This allows for easy streaming of digital content through phones, tablets, and other devices. Customers get 4G LTE-enabled speeds, which should be plenty powerful to keep the kids in the back seat happy.
Data services and monthly subscriptions are becoming a thing with modern cars as automakers build more tech-rich products. VW’s Car-Net is just one of several digital services it offers. Customers can also pay for real-time traffic updates through Plus Nav for $49 a year, pay for 30,000 global radio stations through Plus Online Radio for $8 a year, and pay to use natural language for various vehicle controls through a Plus Speech subscription for $9 a year. Car-Net is standard equipment in most 2020 model year VW vehicles.