Image: Maserati

New Maserati owners can now turn their vehicles into Wi-Fi hotspots with AT&T 4G LTE connectivity, thanks to a partnership between AT&T and Maserati that was announced this week. AT&T has been the leader of connected vehicles, with dozens of major brands offering in-car connectivity through AT&T in the United States, including all the General Motors brands such as Chevrolet, GMC and Cadillac; Volvo; Subaru; and more.

In-car connectivity is becoming expected for new car buyers now, and they’re looking for more than just Wi-Fi hotspots. App connectivity is increasingly common now, with manufacturers offering smartphone apps that allow car owners to remotely lock or unlock their vehicles, remotely start them, or even to check on the status of key systems to determine when it’s time to schedule an oil change.

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Some apps even allow dealerships to proactively check on the health of the car in order to suggest when and what might be booked for service appointments. This benefits the vehicle owner, who might not know how to check their own oil change intervals, as well as dealerships and brands who get to bring buyers back to the dealership for servicing and possibilities for later upselling and even a new car purchase.

The Maserati deal enables the Maserati Connect service, which allows for in-vehicle Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant integration, as well as diagnostics, vehicle finder and drive alerts. That last feature is particularly useful when loaning your car to a friend or teenager as it let’s you set geofence or speed limitations that alert you when exceeded.

And with many vehicles acting as an office for an increasingly mobile workforce, having in-car Wi-Fi is a must—and the same is true for road trip-loving Americans who want to keep the kids quiet with constant Netflix streams to tablets and other devices.

The 4G LTE antennas in a vehicle are also significantly stronger than those in a smartphone or tablet. This means that in low coverage areas, a vehicle may be able to get and keep a strong data connection where phones might struggle.

With Maserati and most other cars, new buyers get a complimentary three-month trial of the AT&T hotspot feature, with a number of options for data plans once that trial has expired.

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Users with AT&T unlimited data smartphone plans can add their car to that plan for $20 per month, while non-AT&T smartphone customers can prepay for $25 of unlimited data for 30 days, $200 for 12 months ($16.67/month), or $380 for 24 months ($15.83/month).

Unlimited plans for AT&T customers will run full speed to 22GB of data usage per month, and after that data speeds may be throttled if there is network congestion on the tower, and it’s worth double checking with AT&T for what plans are available for your account.

With AT&T’s customer churn rates at all-time lows, it’s reasonable to wonder if adding a vehicle with an AT&T hotspot might be another way to possibly poach customers from other carriers or keep existing customers locked in at AT&T.

AT&T’s ownership of WarnerMedia also gives a boost to in-car wireless customers with included access to a service called WarnerMedia RIDE which includes access to an in-car streaming service with Warner content from HBO, CNN, TNT, Cartoon Network and more.