Since all the OnStar-enabled vehicles built between 1996 and 2002 were analog only, the 500,000 customers that still subscribe to OnStar will lose service. For owners of 2002-2004 vehicles with analog OnStar, GM made changes to the OnStar hardware so a digital adapter kit could be installed at a later date. The adapter kit can be put in for $15, provided the customer ups for an additional year of service.
For the owners of OnStar-equipped vehicles built between 1996 and 2002, there isn't anything that can be done to fix the problem, so GM is gifting up one year of free OnStar service on the customer's next newer OnStar-enabled vehicle. We don't know how many customers will purchase new vehicles just to continue using OnStar, but we have a feeling owners that are stuck with a dead blue button probably won't want to hear the commercials where OnStar saves the day.