As Audi announces the possibilities of forthcoming 5G tech, the 3G shutdown means many older vehicles will lose functionality.
This week, Audi announced a new partnership with American wireless network provider Verizon. The agreement will bring 5G connectivity to forthcoming Audi vehicles, and according to the press release, the upgrade will begin for the 2024 model year. While it doesn’t specify exactly which models will get the tech first, you probably don’t have to tighten your thinking cap to determine this tech will launch on some of Audi’s higher dollar hardware. Here’s what Filip Brabec, senior VP, Product Planning for Audi of America had to say:
Audi was the first automaker to bring in-vehicle Wi-Fi to customers as well as 4G LTE connectivity in the 2015 A3, and we will be among the first to bring the next generation of connectivity to our customers in the U.S. We value our partnership with Verizon and their eagerness to push the boundaries of what’s possible as cars continue to become even more connected.
Along with faster streaming speeds and enhanced navigation functionality, the announcement also mentions “cloud-based user profiles” and “mobile retail capabilities” — which both sound like things I’d pay to opt out of. That said, the the technology does offer an opportunity to respond directly to nearby vehicles using “Cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) technology.” This kind of communication is tremendously important for the development of autonomous vehicles, and will be also be harnessed to protect pedestrians, cyclists, and other high-risk groups like school children.
The partnership between Audi and Verizon comes at a time when millions of American drivers are discovering that many current connected features will be disabled when U.S. wireless providers shut down their 3G networks. According to Audi USA’s official page on the 3G shutdown, vehicles as new as 2019 will be impacted, though with varying degrees of severity. For example, owners of 2016 through 2018 A3 e-tron models, will no longer be able to use the app to start or stop charging, precondition the cabin, set departure times, or monitor the vehicle status remotely.
Owners of A4 models between 2017 and 2018 will lose even more functionality, including Audi connect CARE’s SOS and emergency call feature, online roadside assistance, Audi Service Request, Audi incident assistance, remote lock and unlock, vehicle status report, and stolen vehicle locator. With the shutdown currently underway, many owners are scrambling to determine which functions they’ll lose and whether it’ll be possible to retrofit their vehicles.
There’s a great thread going here at Audi World where members are sharing their concerns, and if you’re concerned about what this change could mean for your vehicle, I encourage you to check it out.