Audi upgrading existing 3G service with speedier in-car LTE data chip

Audi A8L

With the addition of T-Mobile 3G WiFi in its lineup, Audi was one of the first automakers to create a “rolling office” in our personal cars.  However, 3G is quickly finding itself in the backseat to the faster LTE services offered by cellular providers today.  Not to be left behind, Audi has partnered with Gemalto to offer an industry-first LTE-capable infotainment system.

That sounds like a lot of crunchy tech terms, doesn’t it?  Here’s the skinny:

In the U.S., Audi Connect is an optional feature that allows the driver to create a rolling wireless hotspot right from the dash.  The feature is powered by T-Mobile, and with a monthly subscription and a SIM card for your car, you can use the internet pretty much anywhere your car can find a signal.  That means Google maps for your navigation, internet searches for places to go, and the ability to connect your phone, laptop or tablet to the internet from the passenger seat.  But, 3G is quickly becoming an outdated (and slow) way to connect to the internet, and Audi doesn’t want to be associated with either.

So, the brand has partnered with digital security company Gemalto to offer Audi owners a faster connection.  The new system is an upgrade for Audi’s current infotainment devices that allows them to process an LTE data connection. The Gemalto LTE chip replaces the existing 3G built into the infotainment hardware, meaning all current Audis with 3G capability should allow for the upgrade, however, Audi has yet to reveal when, or even if, we’ll be getting it stateside.

With faster, more robust access to online services, Audi owners can now simultaneously use voice and data services, quickly load Google Street View navigation, stream video content and connect as many as 8 mobile devices to the WiFi network. 

With LTE as the preferred go-to service on most of our smart phones, we’d be lying if we didn’t say that 3G speeds feel pretty slow.  We’re glad to see LTE finding its way into our cars, and it comes as no surprise that Audi is one of the first brands to offer the feature.

Our question to you: What kind of useful tasks could you accomplish behind the wheel with blazing-fast internet rolling down the highway with you?


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