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I always wonder this too. We have phones and my kids also have cellular-enabled iPads. In theory the car hotspot would get slightly better reception (we rarely have an issue) and would only work in that car, nowhere else. I think in the end it would just mean an extra device I have to pay for access on, and cost me more in the long wrong. Both of our DDs have the option for the hotspot and I’ve never activated or even tried the free trial on either one.
 

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The unlimited hotspot from Ford / ATT was only $15/mo, so I decided to try it out. Works on the same cellular technology as a phone you'd tether to, so speed is about the same. The only real perk is sometimes phone tethering can be finicky... not allowing multiple devices, needing to turn it off & on again for visibility purposes to connect, etc.. The Ford WiFi (whatever they call it) works just like connecting to a Wi-Fi router at home. If the car's on, any of the iPads or whatnot just connect to it automatically, like connecting to your home network when you walk in the door.

Downside for me is that the car has to be on (full ACC, or in the ten-minute window between shutting the engine off where full ACC remains active). If you're talking about a hybrid or EV, no issues here, but running a 3.5L V6 to power my Wi-Fi seems a little backwards. But I've definitely done it where I needed to be in the car but work needed to be done.
 

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Our phone plans include 100GB (mine) and 50GB (wife) of hotspot. It wouldn't make financial sense/cents for us to pay for an additional subscription. Also, not sure if the Durango is 4G or 5G. Anyway, I haven't even tried the free trial even with phoneless kids on tablets.
 

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It kinda reminds me of the early/mid 1990s and the whole car phone/vs cell phone thing. Car phone was a little cheaper (maybe), and reception was better, but you had to bring your entire car with you instead of just your phone. We all see where that went.

Even tethering tablets to phones or using a puck is a giant PITA versus just having a cellular device. We brought our daughter’s friend on vacation recently, and every time we left the house it was “can I tether to someone’s phone?? What’s the wifi password??” Whereas my kids are just off and running on their little cellular devices. Well worth the extra $15-20 month (2x tablets vs 1x hotspot).
 

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I think it would make sense if it enabled more features on the infotainment. Like Google maps, and Spotify working independently of your phone data, real time weather, and news alerts etc.

Most systems don't seem to be enabled to take advantage of the extra features that an internet connection allows. That is one of the cool things about Tesla.

If it is solely to run ipads, or laptops I don't really see the draw.

As long as I have my work iphone with me, the hotspot works automatically, or it is one swipe down, and a button press to enable hotspot on my android.

I have a grandfathered in TMobile plan that allows 100GB full speed hotspot, and it is often faster than the wifi wherever I am working.
 

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Are cars now 5G? Or are they using older 4G technology?
 

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The car hotspots are usually really slow lte modems. They won't do carrier aggregation. A current flagship phone will annihilate them for pure speed.

I prefer to roll my own with a 5g modem and borrow the IMEI of a phone for completely unlimited data speeds. Plus I can use multiple sim card profiles so I can use any of the 3 big carriers at will.
 

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The car hotspots are usually really slow lte modems. They won't do carrier aggregation. A current flagship phone will annihilate them for pure speed.

I prefer to roll my own with a 5g modem and borrow the IMEI of a phone for completely unlimited data speeds. Plus I can use multiple sim card profiles so I can use any of the 3 big carriers at will.

That is kind of what I was figuring. Especially since there are a number of cars on the roads these days that no longer have service because they used 3G technology right up to 2021 models. If vehicle manufacturers were still using 3G as late as 2021, how would you expect them to have 5G in vehicles produced within the last year?

 

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That is kind of what I was figuring. Especially since there are a number of cars on the roads these days that no longer have service because they used 3G technology right up to 2021 models. If vehicle manufacturers were still using 3G as late as 2021, how would you expect them to have 5G in vehicles produced within the last year?

Its not completely impossible to upgrade or modify them.


you can also pull the modem from the vehicle, clone the IMEI to a hotspot device with better capabilities and then use it anywhere you like with the unlimited connected car plans. at least until you hit the hard throttle caps where deprioritization kicks in. Att doesn't seem to throttle unless its actually congested. Tmobile and Verizon are hard limits that drop you to almost nothing. Then theres visible which is always deprioritized, but no hard caps so if you are able to get decent service its always decent.
 

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Its not completely impossible to upgrade or modify them.


you can also pull the modem from the vehicle, clone the IMEI to a hotspot device with better capabilities and then use it anywhere you like with the unlimited connected car plans. at least until you hit the hard throttle caps where deprioritization kicks in. Att doesn't seem to throttle unless its actually congested. Tmobile and Verizon are hard limits that drop you to almost nothing. Then theres visible which is always deprioritized, but no hard caps so if you are able to get decent service its always decent.
Sounds like something that 1 in a million people would do.
 

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I think it would make sense if it enabled more features on the infotainment. Like Google maps, and Spotify working independently of your phone data, real time weather, and news alerts etc.
That's exactly how the 5G hotspot in my Audi works.


But Audi also charges $50/month or $500/year for it. Which is insane when I already have a phone plan with unlimited data.

Back in the days, car phones had higher transmission power since you're not holding the antenna next to your head. Useful when the cell towers were farther apart in sparse coverage area.
Audi still does this, it was bundled in with the wireless charger. It's called the "Audi Phonebox" which is a cellular signal booster. You are supposed to register it with your wireless carrier but I never did.
 

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I think it would make sense if it enabled more features on the infotainment. Like Google maps, and Spotify working independently of your phone data, real time weather, and news alerts etc.

Most systems don't seem to be enabled to take advantage of the extra features that an internet connection allows. That is one of the cool things about Tesla.

If it is solely to run ipads, or laptops I don't really see the draw.

As long as I have my work iphone with me, the hotspot works automatically, or it is one swipe down, and a button press to enable hotspot on my android.

I have a grandfathered in TMobile plan that allows 100GB full speed hotspot, and it is often faster than the wifi wherever I am working.

Cars should be able to connect to the hotspot that your phone provides and use the data through your phone rather than having their own costly service plan and using obsolete connection technology 3 years after leaving the showroom floor.
 

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Back in the days, car phones had higher transmission power since you're not holding the antenna next to your head. Useful when the cell towers were farther apart in sparse coverage area.
True, but that was the now dead "analog" cell service.
 

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Back in the days, car phones had higher transmission power since you're not holding the antenna next to your head. Useful when the cell towers were farther apart in sparse coverage area.
This is still true with some systems. Most cars these days only do bluetooth. If the system you use in your car uses rSAP (remote sim access protocol) then the module can use much higher output powers than a handheld device. rSAP also allows the car to share the data connection. There's very few US cars that use this. VWAG cars can use it, but usually you need to swap modules for a world version instead of a US version. The US sucks for mobiles and connectivity. wonder why? They want to sucker you for product tie ins like the mobile hotspots and other crap.
 

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Cars should be able to connect to the hotspot that your phone provides and use the data through your phone rather than having their own costly service plan and using obsolete connection technology 3 years after leaving the showroom floor.
Yup, as evidenced by VW and Audi customers who have MY 2019 cars that still had 3G hardware that have now been disabled.
 

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We do a lot of work while traveling. Normally we use our phone as a hotspot, is anyone using their car's hotspot and not thier phone, if so, how is it? Better, worse or no different?
Brand new van last year; took it through BFE and over the mountains to the beach for a couple weeks. I went ahead and fired up the van's hotspot because it's from AT&T and my carefully crafted and hung onto unlimited full speed everything including 5G and hotspot mobile phone service...isn't.

And I was playing passenger the whole time, and dammit, I wanted to watch stuff from my Plex server.

It's nice to have multiple carriers. If one fails, probably the other works.
 

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i use it, think i pay 100/yr att 4g unlimited. None of the kids ipads have built in and i also keep an old phone in there if they get bored on some trip. I stream a lot of music and there is some app with bunch of free movies and whatnot the kids use. iirc some of other apps and activated services use it as well.
 

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Cars should be able to connect to the hotspot that your phone provides and use the data through your phone rather than having their own costly service plan and using obsolete connection technology 3 years after leaving the showroom floor.
How would they collect and sell everyones driving data then, duh.
 
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