T-Mobile's SyncUp Brings 4G, Diagnostics to Your Ride

T-Mobile is ramping up its efforts at keeping you connected in your car. The Uncarrier unveiled SyncUp Drive, a new diagnostics device for your car.

The device plugs into your OBD-II port — something found in nearly every car built after 1996 — and gives you vehicle diagnostics and safety and security features. But drivers are more likely to be interested in the Wi-Fi hotspot capability that SyncUp Drive adds to their cars.

SyncUp Drive ships Nov. 18. While the device normally costs $150 and gets added to your T-Mobile data plan, T-Mobile plans to offer the SyncUp Drive for free to customers who have a 2GB or higher data plan and sign a 24-month contract. That's a limited time offer, T-Mobile says.

In announcing SyncUp Drive today (Nov. 7), T-Mobile contends that its new in-car information system is the most advanced from from any carrier. T-Mobile says SyncUp Drive can analyze how you drive and provide you with safety recommendations; it can also help you locate your car, alert you to potential vehicle problems and help you improve your gas mileage. What's more, the SyncUp Drive creates a Wi-Fi hotspot that five devices can connect to during road trips.

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T-Mobile isn't the first carrier to join the connected car fray. Verizon for the last several years has sold a similar tool called the Hum that can provide vehicle diagnostics information and other data. Several smaller companies working outside the cellular industry also offer similar tools.

Verizon’s Hum is one of the more popular options in the car business, offering a wide range of features, including the ability to tell you when your car is in trouble. It also has a 24/7 roadside assistance service and will alert emergency responders if you’ve been in an accident. Like T-Mobile’s SyncUp Drive, the Hum can deliver alerts and notifications to your smartphone with a compatible app and plugs into the car’s OBD-II port.

Verizon’s Hum costs $30 on a two-year contract. Plans on the Hum go for $10 per month.

T-Mobile teamed up on the SyncUp Drive with phone maker ZTE and connected car company Mojio.

Don Reisinger is CEO and founder of D2 Tech Agency. A communications strategist, consultant, and copywriter, Don has also written for many leading technology and business publications including CNET, Fortune Magazine, The New York Times, Forbes, Computerworld, Digital Trends, TechCrunch and Slashgear. He has also written for Tom's Guide for many years, contributing hundreds of articles on everything from phones to games to streaming and smart home.