• Dec 27, 2007
If this affects you, chances are that you've already received a letter in the mail from General Motors and OnStar informing you that the analog network supporting older GM models with the OnStar service will be turned off on January 1st, 2008. The reason is because the Federal Communications Commission ruled in 2002 that cellular companies could stop supporting their analog networks in favor of digital ones, and OnStar was originally set up on an analog network owned by Verizon Wireless in 1996.

GM began selling vehicles with dual-mode (analog/digital) hardware in 2004 after all appeals to the FCC to overturn its ruling had failed. All GM cars and trucks are now likely sold with digital-only equipment. Some GM vehicles produced between 2002 and 2004 may have been equipped with analog hardware that is digital ready, meaning it can be upgraded to accept a digital signal. To find out if your vehicle is digital-ready, click here and have your VIN ready. If you do have equipment that can be upgraded, GM will do it for you, including parts and labor, for only $15 if you agree to a $199 1-year subscription to OnStar.

Nevertheless, it's a bum-deal for those GM customers with older OnStar models that can't be upgraded, as their service will ride off into the sunset on New Year's Eve thanks to the FCC.

[Source: Straightline, GM]


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  • 30 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      Another reason why cars cost so much. Use a map.
      • 7 Years Ago

      GM and OnStar get alot of the heat for this, but it also affected Mercedes' Tele-Aid and Lexus' Lexus-Link service as well.

      For customers who don't want to be bombarded with the "LESUX LINK DEACTIVATED!" voice every time they start their car, Lexus will remove the old analong hardware at no-charge.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Audi also used Onstar, under the onstar name.
        Kinda a bummer because my car now has 3 useless buttons up on the ceiling.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Heh, "LeSUX" :)
      • 7 Years Ago
      The press release lies. The analog OnStar service stopped working in San Francisco 10 days ago. Fortunately OnStar refunded my money for December without question.

      I am disappointed by the service demise. I've got a 2004 Touareg with it. Tried to avoid buying it because VW had clearly disclosed that it would be useless after three years. However taking OnStar was the only way to get other options I wanted at the end of the model year. Now that I've used it, I like it and would happily pay for a conversion if anyone would sell me one.

      I blame GM and OnStar for the debacle more than VW. And the way I've been treated will dissuade me from ever buying a GM vehicle.
      • 7 Years Ago
      if you are paying 200 bucks a year for onstar you ain't driving no brokedown piece of 5 year old crap any way so its reallr a non issue people buy/ suscribe to onstar for a preception of safety and are not the likely ones tring yo milk that last 100 miles out of the family JUNKER. buy a cell phone its cheeper and beleave it track phone has the best coverage. still worried buy a qualcom
      Frederick Rothe III
      • 7 Years Ago
      Why blame GM and/or Onstar? Onstar is NOT a GM-owned company! Blame the FCC,Bush and Clinton for making analog only Onstar vehicles (and mobile phones too!) go digital only. Yes,I agree that a digital fix for older analog Onstar vehicles should be FREE!!! We haad to get rid of a 2001 Oldsmobile Sillouhetter GLS minivan which came with Onstar. Never had a problem with Onstar or the van. Have a 2007 Saturn Vue FWD w/Onstar and we love it. Also,if you think about it,all auto companies should have a switch that turns on the headlights when you turn on the wipers. Most people think DRL's coount for headlights:NOT!!! And most states require headlights with wipers (and that means the intermittent setting too stupids!) Also,Onstar qualifies for an insurance discount because of GPS vehicle tracking.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I don't like the tone this article is written with. Jeff sounds as though it's the FCC's fault that OnStar will no longer work. In fact it's due to the lack of demand for analog cellular products. The FCC is no longer requiring that outdated technology be used. They never should have required this. Since there isn't a large enough demand for analog cell service to be profitable, the cell carriers should be allowed to stop supporting it.
      • 7 Years Ago
      OnStar is just a waste. I hated that thing when I bought my SAAB 93 (gone now). I never used it pass the 3 free months but I was left with a huge box in my trunk that meant the difference between being able to stack my 29 inch suitcases and having to fold down the seats.

      • 7 Years Ago
      wait intill all tv becomes Digital after 2009 thats another FCC wonder....
        • 7 Years Ago
        it took so long because everything had to be switched over to digital....and the infrastructure is not cheap and it takes time, man power etc...plus switching over perfectly find working analog transmission equipment over to digital is not cheap...
        • 7 Years Ago
        That switchover I'm actually looking forward to. Now that I have started using OTA digital broadcasts in my house, I am amazed why it took so long for FCC to make the analog cutoff mandate. It is leaps and bounds superior to analog TV broadcasts.
      • 7 Years Ago
      BMW stranded owners with their factory installed BMW/Motorola StarTac phones when the FCC declared everyone needed GPS tracking chips in their cell phones.

      BMW claimed we'd have to purchase a new phone and install their $1200.00 bluetooth conversion kit but we told them to shove it up their tailpipe. We found someone to fix our phone for $100.00.
      billsailer
      • 7 Years Ago
      Hey, Hank...Thanks to FCC rules tvs that are over a couple of years old will have to get convertors dec 31, 2008 to convert their new Digital signal to....guess what....ANALOG. So much for analog going out. Of course if you are able to buy new tvsets often, you may not be hurting like the folks who are not well off.
      rrwhitwell1946
      • 7 Years Ago
      LET'S DO THE USA A BIG FAT FAVOR.................GET RID OF THE FCC.......UNNECESSARY AND PROBABLY UNCONSTITUTIONA. THE FCC HAS WAY TOO MUCH POWER AND IS TOO CONTROLLING.AND IS NOT SUBJECT TO THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE
      • 7 Years Ago
      Can G.M screw anything else up, I mean damm, everything they touch goes to hell. The object is to make a better company with time, not run what you have into the ground at your customers expence. They might as well shut the doors now, because with thier service and products people would have to be idiots to buy them.
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