It appears Audi will be the first to market with in-car LTE service later this year. We knew that BMW was working on LTE integration last year with its ConnectedDrive, and we've been told that, by the end of 2015, most General Motors products will have it, but LTE can be ordered on the S3 Sportback (pictured) as soon as July. Other models in the A3 line-up will add the option in November.

Inserting an LTE-enabled SIM card into the Audi's MMI navigation will make the S3 a WLAN hotspot that can quickly shuffle high-definition content from the cloud to the cockpit. It will also bolster Audi Connect services like Google Earth, Facebook and Twitter, e-mail, and streaming internet radio.

We've been told that we'll be offered the LTE option when the 2015 A3 sedan gets here in the spring of 2014. Since the service requires you to provide a SIM card, we expect that costs and data caps will be a matter between you and the service provider; speaking of which, Audi hasn't announced yet who that provider will be on this side of the Atlantic. The press release below has more details.
Show full PR text
First to market:
Audi brings the new LTE standard to the car

- Debut this summer in the Audi S3 Sportback
- WLAN hotspot and tailored Audi connect services

Ingolstadt, 2013-07-29 - Audi is the first carmaker to bring the fast LTE data transfer standard to the car with full integration. It can be ordered as an option in the Audi S3 Sportback from July, and in all other model variants of the premium compact from early November. LTE technology is very important for Audi connect, the networking of the car with the driver, the Internet and the environment.

The new LTE (Long Term Evolution) standard takes mobile Internet to a new dimension. LTE enables the exchange of large amounts of data via the Internet, such as music and films in HD quality. Commercial LTE networks already exist in many European countries and in the USA. In Germany, LTE is available in a few large cities, but is primarily active in many rural areas. The standard is expected to be available everywhere by the end of 2014.

To use LTE, a suitable SIM card with a data flat rate simply needs to be inserted into the appropriate slot in the MMI navigation plus unit in the Audi S3 Sportback. When the passengers connect their mobile end devices to the WLAN hotspot integrated into the car, they can surf the web independently of one another. For example, one passenger can participate in a video conference while another watches a video.

The MMI navigation plus uses LTE to deliver the tailored services of Audi connect to the driver – from navigation with Google Earth and Google Street View to Audi music stream web radio and online traffic information. The community services Facebook and Twitter have also been made vehicle-friendly with a text-to-speech function and a text function with prepared text modules. In addition, there are over a dozen Audi connect services, including a text-to-speech function for e-mail and a dictation function for text messages (SMS). And the range of services is expanding rapidly.

LTE technology can be ordered for the Audi S3 Sportback from July, and for all other variants of the A3 family from November. Audi connect is the keyword for the brand's intensive efforts to continuously develop new networking solutions. New technologies are increasingly making cars with the four rings more of an experiential space. The LTE standard is expected to provide a strong boost to the seamless use of media stored on a server on the Internet (data in the cloud). Audi is also a major driving force behind the networking with other automobiles and the transport infrastructure (car-to-X-communication).

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    • 1 Second Ago
      Julio B
      • 1 Year Ago
      or you can buy an LTE phone with hotspot and your car won't become obsolete in a few years...
      • 1 Year Ago
      Oh for heaven's sake, enough with this crap. My cellphone has had LTE since it came out, so sorry Audi, but you are not the first to bring it to the car, nor would any automaker ever be able to keep up with the pace of change in consumer electronics technology. I'll supply the infotainment, you car makers just bring a place for me to plug my phone in. Period. I don't want some ~$2000 infotainment/cell system from Audi, Ford, GM or anyone else, when I already have a smart phone that goes everything the automotive system can, but also more easily keep up with new telecommunications technologies. In the time that I have owned my car, I have had 3 or 4 phones. Think about how old fashioned 1G or 2G technology looks nowadays... well that is how old LTE will look like in an Audi when this car is ~10+ years old. It will be antiquated with few good options to updated it. However if I can just plug in my smartphone, it will always be up to date because I get a new one every 2 or 3 years typically.
        • 1 Year Ago
        That time of the month for you??? Jesus it isnt standard it is an OPTION. You don't want it, than don't buy it. Greater minds than yours have done market research to determine if there is demand and apparently there is as BMW and GM are right behind audi.
      • 1 Year Ago
      • 1 Year Ago
      4 years late, but now the douchebags can facebook and tweet at 4G speeds.
      • 1 Year Ago
      I can't stand Audi....but damn! That's a hot piece of metal.
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'm sure LTE will make the tiny Audi MMI screen fantastic to use
      • 1 Year Ago
      The more you read about this stuff the more you believe the "Hastings conspiracy theory".
      • 1 Year Ago
      We don't put steering wheels on your TVs.... I'm sure Audi will be the first car maker to put a 4K display in the car. And a cuckoo clock. I'm a tech junkie and gadget lover but in a car it's the "if you can doesn't mean you should" approach, and I find it incredible that these days car manuals start with how to set up the infotainment system. On the LTE note.... The coverage is far from universal and by the time it will be, both the car and the LTE will become obsolete. But hey, innovation! Might as well slap LTE on a coffee maker.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Meh ... I still believe that, if it doesn't make your car perform better ("perform" doesn't mean just outright speed in straight line), you don't need it. The only exception to that rule is AC, at least as far as I'm concerned. Now ... do I like having a Bluetooth connected phone to the car's audio system (for example)? Yes, I do like that very much. Do I really NEED it? Nope, I just don't answer the phone without it. Done. Sun is still raising from the east and no miniature black hole ate my house because I didn't answer the phone.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Great. Most people can barely drive a car properly with the distractions they already have. This will only make it worse. Does this mean in the future I should give all luxury cars a wide birth? I mean how many times do you see some jackass driving erratically out there, and when you pull up to them you see them on the phone or worse TEXTING! ********.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Sooo.... you can pay an additional 50 bucks to the phone company for an additional SIM Card when it's just as easy and cheaper to turn on the hotspot on your phone. Sounds like a winner.
        • 1 Year Ago
        More likely you'd get some sort of a family plan with shared data between your different devices, but yes. Free data (with a cap) for the length of the warranty period would make this much more attractive.
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