Vodacom, which is owned by British mobile phone giant Vodafone, is considering providing a full-service of in-vehicle Internet bundles to connected car owners in the future. By Gugu Lourie
Vodacom SIM cards are already powering BMW South Africa’s ConnectedDrive technology, which is designed to offer infotainment and other in-vehicle digital services for its drivers.
“Internet-in-the-Car has recently been launched in several Vodafone operating companies in Europe, Tony Smallwood, executive head at Vodacom for business development in Machine-to-Machine (M2M) and Vertical Industries, said.
“Vodacom is considering a similar service offering.”
In February 2016, AT&T and Vodafone announced that they are supporting the introduction of OnStar’s connected service for Opel and Vauxhall OnStar in select European countries.
In Europe, OnStar’s Wi-Fi 4G LTE service, enabled by Vodafone, is available in all new Opel and Vauxhall passenger vehicles.
OnStar’s 4G LTE Wi-Fi connection is already available in Spain, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The car becomes a powerful, mobile hotspot giving easier access to apps and services that require a high-speed cellular connection. The hotspot will support up to 7 mobile devices.
The connected car market is set for exponential growth. Gartner Research has forecast that one in five vehicles will have some form of wireless network connection by 2020, equating to more than 250 million connected vehicles in service
The connected car, which is powered by M2M SIM cards, offers opportunities for mobile phone operators to diversify their revenue streams.
M2M is also known as the Internet of Things (IoT) – a concept of connecting devices to the internet ranging from refrigerators, geysers and smart electricity meters to coffee makers – in such a way that they communicate without the need of human intervention.