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2015 Audi A3 will be the first car with inbuilt 4G LTE connectivity

Mobile data connectivity in cars isn’t a new thing, but Audi is keen to be the first manufacturer to take it to the next level and put 4G LTE in its cars.

The German auto company has announced a deal with US network AT&T that will put speedy 4G connectivity for smartphones, laptops, tablets and other wireless devices, in its vehicles. Unfortunately the service doesn’t come free with the car, even if you do pick out all the other top specs at the dealership.

Perhaps it’s because we’re used to UK networks, but the pricing and details for AT&T’s data in the new Audi A3 seem a little odd. For starters, you have the choice of a 6 month or 30 month package – no 12, 18 or 24 months as you usually get with a smartphone, or even a data-only SIM. Then, for the 6-month contract ($99) you get yourself 5GB of data for the entire period. If you opt for the 30-month package ($499) then you get 30GB total, equating to 1GB per month. On the plus side, if you pick up one of the new 2015 Audi A3s, you get 6 months of data for free.

Audi and AT&T say that drivers have indicated to them that longer subscription periods for in-car data suit them best, going by their previous 3G offerings in older vehicles with the Audi Connect service, which would explain for the odd lengths of service being offered.

If you were hoping to make use of 4G LTE in your shiny new Audi by downloading a movie on your way home so that it’s ready and waiting when you pull into the garage, you might want to be thinking again. These data limitations suit casual browsing and email on the go rather than downloading, although the occasional app download and the odd tune streamed through Spotify shouldn’t pose a problem.

The main purpose of 4G LTE in the car is to power Audi Connect, a dashboard screen which can offer navigation, radio streaming, personalised RSS feeds, text-to-speech news headlines, Facebook and Twitter. Audi will also be launching smartphone apps which link up with the car’s inbuilt system.

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