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Tesla picks AT&T for internet services in its electric cars

LOS ANGELES (Bloomberg) — Tesla Motors Inc. picked AT&T Inc. to provide high-speed wireless service to its vehicles, giving the carrier a boost in its effort to expand beyond mobile phones.

All Tesla cars come equipped with AT&T network chips, which allow two-way connections for services such as roadside assistance and stolen-vehicle location, the Dallas-based carrier said Thursday. The Tesla service also includes Internet access, navigation and entertainment on a 17-inch (43-centimeter) touch screen. Terms of the agreement weren’t disclosed.

Tesla, which sells its cars directly to consumers at prices starting at about $70,000, is AT&T’s latest connected-car partner. In February, AT&T replaced Verizon Wireless as OnStar service provider to General Motors Co. cars beginning with 2015 models. Carmakers and mobile carriers are seeking to extract more revenue from users while they’re on the road.

“Tesla is the most appealing car to technophiles,” said Roger Entner, a wireless-industry strategist with Recon Analytics LLC in Dedham, Mass. “Connecting cars makes a tremendous amount of sense.”

AT&T’s service also could be used to provide in-car Wi-Fi hot spots, letting anyone in the vehicle connect to the Internet via mobile devices.

“We’ve been working with AT&T. They’ve been the service provider for Model S” in North America, said Elizabeth Jarvis-Shean, a spokeswoman for Tesla. She declined to comment on cellular or data service changes provided by AT&T.

More http://www.autonews.com/article/20131018/OEM06/131019881?template=mobile&X-IgnoreUserAgent=1

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