Available in Germany now, feature will roll out in UK; set to dramatically reduce mobile roaming fees
1 June 2016

Audi has announced a deal with a telecoms provider to provide its cars with permanent SIM cards with unlimited data.

The deal means that customers in Germany will be able to use online features of Audi’s Connect infotainment system without having to supply their own SIM card for data. There are plans to roll out the same system in the UK, and eventually worldwide.

The deal in Germany is with Irish firm Cubic Telecom, and will apply to cars that use Audi’s second-generation modular infotainment platform: the A3, A4, the new A5, the Q2 and the Q7. More vehicles will have the system in the future.

The Audi Connect system includes navigation with Google Earth and Street View, travel, traffic and parking information and access to Twitter and email, as well as smartphone calendars.

Customers will be able to use unlimited data for these features both in Germany and most European countries for a flat fee for up to three years, which would dramatically reduce high roaming fees on some networks. For an extra fee, additional data packages can be purchased for a WiFi hotspot that lets up to eight mobile devices surf the internet.

A spokesman for Audi UK said a similar arrangement would also be available in the UK in the future, but no date has been confirmed yet.

UK customers will be able to buy cars with a permanent SIM card from Cubic Telecom and use data for a flat fee. Details, including roaming options, have yet to be announced, but the spokesman suggested that customers would have the choice of using the permanent SIM or supplying their own SIM card from a data provider of their choice, as customers must do at the moment.

Currently, UK customers of Audi Connect-enabled vehicles can use the system’s features for free for a three-month trial, although this is being extended to the end of the year. Once Audi’s UK e-commerce platform is completed, customers can subscribe to different paid-for services, although the details and costs of these also have yet to be announced.

Phill Tromans

 

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Comments
6

1 June 2016
I really do believe NCAP have a need to get on in the act. I'd knock off a star for touch screen infotainment systems and knock one of for in-car wifi.

1 June 2016
scotty5 wrote:

I really do believe NCAP have a need to get on in the act. I'd knock off a star for touch screen infotainment systems and knock one of for in-car wifi.

Then every modern/new car will end up with a star less.....so pointless, as they are all coming up with this technology now....besides, it is still no more dangerous (probably less so) than not having these features and people using the mobile phone anyway?

Lee J

1 June 2016
I don't think you can make such a broad statement. The Tesla's big touch screen is a lot easier to operate without taking your eyes off the road than the nested menu nightmare which is the iDrive in my BMW. That being said, several cars (including the Tesla and my i3) have permanent SIM cards. It's necessary for any car with an app to control functions remotely.

1 June 2016
I'm sure I'm in the minority, but none of this interests me. When I'm in my car I have absolutely no desire to do all these things that I can do when I'm at home or work, I just want to enjoy my driving, which means concentrating on that to get the best out of it.

1 June 2016
It should just be a service item, to be dealt with during regular servicing. 10gb top up, 20 gb top up or what not. Why complicate it with additional fees for tethering or what ever. The point is, it should follow a car maintenance / payment regime, not a mobile phone / data regime.

1 June 2016
Who would want yet another bill to manage?

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