3G Networks Ruin Your Car’s Tech

Jan 20, 2022 2 min read
3G Networks Ruin Your Car’s Tech

Yay for progress or something…

Automakers really love technology and they claim consumers do as well. That might be true, but with the switching off of 3G networks in preparation for the launch of 5G this year, some car owners are in for a rude awakening. Depending on your car’s onboard systems, you might suddenly find your infotainment will be a little or a lot less useful than ever.

See some cool muscle car concept cars here.

That’s right, many cars made in the past decade or so rely on 3G for a data connection. Once the 3G networks are switched off, your vehicle might no longer offer navigation, traffic info, place emergency calls, or be able to connect to your smartphone. That’s not going to be a welcome revelation, especially when some dealers try to turn the bad news into a sales pitch for a shiny, new car.

Updating your phone every few years because networks change and the march of technology makes it irrelevant isn’t that big of a deal. Even if your phone costs about a grand to replace, that’s a small drop in the bucket compared to what a vehicle costs. If automakers think people will be excited about all these cool, nifty technologies in their car suddenly not working at all, they’re about to get an earful.

You use your car for more than just communicating because it’s not a smartphone on wheels. There have been accusations that some in the auto industry want to turn your car into just that. Thankfully, this folding up 3G networks won’t make it so your vehicle doesn’t turn on or drive down the road, but that could be the case with future, more technologically-laden vehicles, especially those with self-driving capability.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: a better solution would be to have a driver’s smartphone project onto the car’s touchscreen. Loading cars up with more and more onboard technologies will have all kinds of unintended, expensive consequences.

This 3G problem is affecting all kinds of vehicle brands, including Tesla, so they can’t feel smug about having “superior technology.” If you want to see a full list of what 3G networks get switched off when and what makes and models will be affected, check out CNBC’s exhaustive list here.

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