T-Mobile has joined forces with Chinese tech giant ZTE as well as connected car startup Mojio in debuting a new connected car feature that also serves as a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot for drivers. The new service from the third biggest wireless carrier in the United States is called SyncUp Drive, which connects into a vehicle’s ODB-II port (onboard diagnostics built in vehicles for a couple of decades now) in order to collect information on the user’s driving habits, offer remainders regarding car maintenance, monitor location, and keep track of other connected automobiles. And as mentioned earlier, the feature also can function as a Wi-Fi hotspot that can connect up to five devices by way of T-Mobile’s LTE network.
The SyncUp Drive device itself is manufactured by ZTE, while the service is being powered by Mojio, which has specialized in connected auto platforms for four years now. The retail price for T-Mobile’s SyncUp Drive is $150, but the mobile operator will be offering the feature free of charge starting on November 18th to customers who are willing to sign up for a two year agreement with a wireless data plan of at least 2 gigabytes of data each month. T-Mobile’s offering should compete well with Hum, the telematics mobile app being sold by Verizon Wireless for $10 per month. The difference though is that Verizon’s Hum does not come with in-vehicle Wi-Fi connectivity, and it only connects to a 2G network, compared to SyncUp Drive which connects to LTE.
With the upcoming launch of SyncUp Drive, some can now say that T-Mobile is joining in on the Internet of Things (IoT) fun. Despite one of the most forward thinking wireless carriers in the US, T-Mobile’s efforts with regards to IoT seem to pale in comparison with other mobile operators’. It is quite possible that the carrier is just biding its time before unveiling a new offering that should wow its customers. SyncUp Drive is certainly an interesting service to introduce, and it is quite interesting to see how consumers will respond to this new offering.
According to T-Mobile, the SyncUp Drive device is not compatible with electric, hybrid, or diesel engines yet. For those who want to check if their engine is compatible, they can go visit this page. As mentioned earlier in this post, the Syncup Drive device officially goes on sale starting November 18th, with a full retail price of $150, for free of charge after bill credits if the buyer ties it to a 24 month plan with a couple of gigabytes of data or more.
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