Who Wants a 4G Car?

A blog about business and economics.
Feb. 25 2013 1:44 PM

AT&T and GM Teaming Up To Provide Pointless In-Car 4G Feature

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All it needs is wireless broadband!

Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

AT&T and General Motors are announcing today a plan to team up to provide AT&T 4G service in GM cars. Perhaps it's just me, but this seems like a really dumb idea.

If you're in a car, you've got your phone with you. Your phone has 4G connectivity (or better) already. What you need is a feature where you plug your phone into your car, tethering for data and preventing your phone's battery from running down. For one thing, smartphones are on a much more rapid upgrade cycle, so a built-in car modem is likely to get obsolete well before a car. For another thing, a smartphone is going to already come with various media loaded onto it that you might want to access in the car. There's no need for a separate car-specific broadband connection except as a way for telecom companies to make overall billing even more complicated.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.