connected-deviceWireless customers have become accustomed to adding tablets, hotspots and other devices to smartphone price plans. AT&T is hoping customers also will put connected cars on wireless plans, announcing new options today in that area.

Also today the carrier announced a new ad campaign called “A Whole New Ride” that will support its connected car initiatives.

Connected Cars on Wireless Plans
Beginning this week, AT&T said customers can add certain connected car models or ZTE Mobley vehicle WiFi plug-in devices to the AT&T Unlimited Plan for $40 per month for unlimited data. Unlimited Plan customers also can get 1 GB of data per month for $10 per connected car, including cars connected via the ZTE Mobley device.

The ZTE Mobley device is designed to add connected car functionality to vehicles that don’t have that capability built in. It plugs into the on-board diagnostic (OBD) port included on cars built since 1996 and acts as a WiFi hotspot inside the vehicle. The car provides power and AT&T’s cellular network provides connectivity to the Internet.

As an alternative to the Unlimited Plan, customers also can put connected cars on wireless plans including Mobile Share Value Plan or stand-alone plans.

A Whole New Ride
AT&T said its “A Whole New Ride” campaign will be a digital one that will run on social media through July 5. The campaign will show the value of turning a car into a WiFi hotspot, told from a child’s point of view, the company said.

“I’m kind of glad we’re not there yet,” says a young girl in a brief video reachable via a link in the press release.

“Kids rave about road trips when there’s WiFi in the car from AT&T,” says a voice over.

The ad campaign is the latest example of how aggressively AT&T has been pursuing connected car opportunities. According to the press release about putting connected cars on wireless plans, the company now has relationships with 19 of the top global car brands and provides connectivity for more than half of all new connected passenger vehicles in the U.S.

The company said it now has more than eight million cars on its network – a big jump from a total of less than two million as of October 2014.  To serve auto makers, AT&T offers a modularized platform known as AT&T Drive, from which the auto makers can create offerings customized for their own customers.

AT&T also has a connected car innovation center known as AT&T Drive Studio. And the company has created synergies with its Digital Life home control system, enabling the systems to be controlled from the connected car.