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Audi Announces In-Car 4G LTE Pricing: Is it a Rip-off?

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 11 comments

Audi and AT&T have finally announced pricing for their new in-car 4G LTE plans. The first of its kind in the U.S., the plans will initially launch in Audi's 2015 A3 sedan, which goes on sale this year, but will eventually be available in all of the German automaker's vehicles. Options include a 5GB, 6-month plan for $99 and a 30GB, 30-month plan for $499. That's a lot of cash to turn your car into a rolling hotspot.

When you break the pricing down, it equates to roughly $16.50 per month for the 6-month plan and $12.50 per month for the 30-month plan. A 4GB data plan through AT&T will cost you $30 per month, while a 6GB plan will cost you $40 per month, that's roughly $7.50 and $6.70 per gigabyte per month. A 30GB data plan will run you $185 per month or $6.16 per gigabyte per month.

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AT&T says users will eventually be able to add their vehicles to their Mobile Share plans, which means your car will be able to pull from the same pool of data as your smartphone. If you purchase two smartphones today and put them on the same 2GB Mobile Share plan, you'll end up paying $40 per for data for both handsets, or about $20 per gigabyte.

Opt for a 4GB AT&T smartphone plan and you'll end up paying $70 per month or $17.50 per gigabyte. A 6GB plan costs $80 or $13.00 per gigabyte. Move up to a 30GB Mobile Share Plan for $299 and you'll pay $9.99 per gigabyte of data. That's about $3 less per gigabyte than Audi and AT&T's 30GB plan. For now, it would be nice if AT&T cut the cost of 4G LTE for Audi drivers that already are on a Mobile Share plan.

Audi may be the first automaker to offer in-car 4G LTE connectivity, but its exclusivity won't last for long. GM announced a similar plan during CES 2014 in January, though no pricing for the feature wasn't discussed.

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  • 2 Hide
    SirGCal , March 11, 2014 8:10 AM
    I don't get it; what will it offer that your cellphone doesn't? Is it going to have some mega-booster? Personally I have unlimited data and wouldn't have it any other way. But my phone itself can be a hotspot if I so choose. Rarely I'll connect the laptop to it for emergency work issues but generally it can do the surfing I need at the time. Seems more like a $ grab due to a hot trigger word to me honestly.
  • 0 Hide
    Aragorn , March 11, 2014 8:19 AM
    This would be great for using google maps to get around traffic on the larger in dash unit rather than running down the phone battery. It would also be great to use Pandora on the cars sound system.
  • 3 Hide
    pbrigido , March 11, 2014 8:23 AM
    I'm looking to reduce my monthly bills, no add to them. No thank you.
  • Display all 11 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    gggplaya , March 11, 2014 8:47 AM
    This is much better than running slacker radio or pandora on my phone and having only sound through the bluetooth system.
  • 1 Hide
    PepitoTV , March 11, 2014 9:03 AM
    To be fair, if you can afford an Audi, then you probably won't mind those prices.
  • 1 Hide
    Innocent_Bystander , March 11, 2014 10:20 AM
    Why not just a universal dock for your smartphone and link it up to the car's systems? Oh wait... there's no money in that...
  • 0 Hide
    dgingeri , March 11, 2014 11:43 AM
    "That's about $3 less per gigabyte than Audi and AT&T's 30GB plan." No, it's not. The 30 month 30GB plan for $499 is 16.63/month, and that breaks down to $0.554 per gigabyte per month. The 6 month 5GB plan for $99 comes to 16.67/month, or $3.33 per gigabyte per month. Your math is wrong.
  • 1 Hide
    kiniku , March 11, 2014 11:52 AM
    I just recently sold my 2013 S5 for a few reasons a big one was because it required a separate data plan on T-Mobile for the car to have any external connectivity. Seriously? With Ford, GM, and Chrysler's infotainment systems using your smartphone as a data conduit. No one these days leaves home without their smartphone why would I want to pay for two data plans? Audi fail.
  • 0 Hide
    noidis , March 11, 2014 11:59 AM
    I was excited at first, "So finally we'll get a hotspot with great reception for those long trips!"Then I saw the pricing and realized it'd probably still get spotty 4G coverage everywhere outside of the city anyway.
  • 0 Hide
    reactive , March 13, 2014 6:18 AM
    It's an Audi extra, so of course it's a rip-off. Just look at their outrageous 'options' list. If you want an Audi A3 but can manage without the little badge on the front, just buy a Volkswagen Golf / Jetta instead. A mechanically identical car, equally well built, and much cheaper to buy and service.
  • 0 Hide
    kraoufg , March 13, 2014 6:14 PM
    Quote:
    It's an Audi extra, so of course it's a rip-off. Just look at their outrageous 'options' list. If you want an Audi A3 but can manage without the little badge on the front, just buy a Volkswagen Golf / Jetta instead. A mechanically identical car, equally well built, and much cheaper to buy and service.
    NO it is not and will never be "equal" ...so please don't talk about Audi vs VW since you clearly have no idea about either.
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