GM promises in-car 4G LTE next year

General Motors says it’s planning to introduce 4G LTE connectivity to its cars as early as next year, through a deal with AT&T.

The car itself will act as a Wifi hotspot, powering mobile devices, as well as a new suite of infotainment services like streaming audio, web access, applications and video for backseat passengers.

It’ll also be used to  power safety and security services, offered by its OnStar subsidiary, including checking the car’s condition and providing more accurate traffic information.

“By adding a fast, reliable and built-in 4G LTE connection specifically designed for vehicles, we can drive innovation to enhance virtually every aspect of the driving and riding experience – from safety and diagnostics to entertainment to integration of emerging third-party applications,” says Mary Chan,  president of GM’s global connected consumer unit.

“Through this built-in 4G LTE connection we have the opportunity to reinvent the mobile experience inside a vehicle.”

The technology will be included in most Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles, beginning next year in the US and Canada.

The announcement marks the end of a long-standing relationship between OnStar and Verizon. But AT&T has the US’ largest 4G network, covering 288 million people.

“Introducing 4G LTE into GM vehicles is a game-changing opportunity, and we couldn’t be better positioned to help drive this movement,” says Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of AT&T Mobility.

“We’re working closely with GM to grow the connected car base, and provide unique and relevant services that will improve the connected experience inside automobiles for both drivers and passengers.”