By on January 15, 2015


With General Motors’ OnStar breaking up with Verizon after nearly 20 years to wed AT&T this year, and with about 200 million vehicles in the United States that don’t have such a system on-board, what’s a telecom to do?

Jump in the game itself, of course.

During the final press day of the 2015 Detroit Auto Show Tuesday, Verizon announced it would be debuting its newest service, Verizon Vehicle, in Q2 2015; nationwide retailer availability will come later in the year. The service would provide users with all the things OnStar users have had for years, including: diagnostics assistance with ASE Certified Mechanics; one-button live assistance; and roadside assistance with GPS.

As for how this will be accomplished for the aforementioned 200 million vehicles without the luxury of OnStar, Verizon Vehicle subscribers will use an OBD reader to obtain information via the vehicle’s diagnostic port, a Bluetooth-enabled visor-mounted speaker for live one-on-one communication, and a free smartphone app to accomplish the same. Subscribers can also use the app to have customer service reps contact them via email, text, push notification or phone. A second button on the speaker handles all emergency situations.

No subscription rates were announced at this time.

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7 Comments on “Verizon Goes Its Own Way With Verizon Vehicle Post-OnStar...”

  • avatar

    Isn’t this kind of redundant to anyone with a smartphone?

  • avatar

    As an OnStar subscriber I wonder how this will work. While the Verizon system seems to offer similar services as On*, the GM cars that have it are specifically designed to use the hardware. I would think that the recent dud OnStar for my car (GM cars that weren’t wired for OnStar and non-GM vehicles) debacle would have been an excellent example of how this may or may not work.

    Originally OnStar for my car was priced at $300 for the hardware (done at certain Best Buy and other certified installers) plus the monthly OnStar rates. They eventually dropped the price to next to nothing for the hardware and installation and still there were few takers.

    I haven’t seen anything on OnStar for my car in many months now, I think the whole program has been quietly euthanized. OnStar has morphed into something of a different service depending upon what GM vehicle you have and what hardware it has.

    Regardless of that, I will be dropping my Directions and Connections of my OnStar service, only holding on to the standard emergency notifications and car diagnostics that are emailed to me every month. I can use my Android to navigate where I need to go. The OnStar service was good when I signed up six years ago, but the omnipresent Google technology is taking over.

    Good luck Verizon. You may need it.

  • avatar

    And someone will come up with an Android or iOS app that uses a commodity OBD2 reader and some decent data profiles and this will all be for naught.

    Telcos do this kind of thing very poorly, just like they do cloud and managed services badly; they try to hammer disruptive services into their existing business model and make an expensive mess of it. You may as well ask horse-traders about direct injection.

  • avatar

    And the question I ask is – why?

  • avatar

    One problem with OnStar is their ridiculous subscription rates. $38 for Directions & Connections when it’s free with most GPS systems.
    They prefer to sell 100 minutes airtime for $30 in an era with far better value plans.
    When you ask to unsubscribe they offer you a discount ($19 a month) but the system is so hard to use. It’s like Suri had a botched electronic sister who hijacked the telecommunications world. Favorite phrase: “Say yesorno” followed by “I didn’t understand”.
    Also a police officer told me OnStar was NOT hands free because you have to push the button on the rear view mirror ($187 fine if you are caucasian; immigrants have their cases dismissed in court along with a request “just don’t do that again”, spoken in the wrong language!).
    Since I have Verizon service now I look forward to this new offer. It should be priced at $11 per month, unlimited calling to other Verizon users. Probably only on OBD-II equipped cars, 1996 and on. Many older OnStar systems (2001 Pontiac Bonneville for example) were analog and the format is no longer supported.

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