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BMW rolls out in-car 5G connectivity in US

BMW is adding 5G connectivity to certain models in the U.S., the automaker said on Thursday.

The BMW i4 and iX electric vehicles can now connect to T-Mobile’s 5G network through an embedded SIM, or eSIM. As the name suggests, it’s a SIM card built into a device (in this case the car) that enables cellular connectivity without a typical removable SIM card. This turns BMW EVs into mobile WiFi hotspots capable of supporting up to 10 devices simultaneously, the automaker said.

T-Mobile customers can add BMW 5G connectivity for $20 a month, according to The Verge. This includes unlimited data in the U.S., 200 megabytes of roaming data for use beyond T-Mobile’s network, and 5 gigabytes of 4G data per month in Canada and Mexico (and unlimited data at slower speeds beyond that), the website said.

2023 BMW iX M60

2023 BMW iX M60

The eSIM is part of an optional Premium Package on the iX xDrive50 and standard on the iX M60, BMW noted. The automaker didn’t specify which trim level or package i4 shoppers will need to get 5G, however.

Other automakers are preparing to add 5G connectivity. Both Audi and General Motors have announced plans to roll out 5G for the 2024 model year, partnering with Verizon and AT&T, respectively. The network’s high speed makes uninterrupted streaming and larger software updates possible.

In addition to 5G, BMW is launching a couple of other new tech features. Digital Key Plus for the iX allows owners to grant access to a car to up to five iPhone users, as well as add restrictions on top speed, power, and radio volume for younger drivers. This feature also lets parents prevent their kids from deactivating the stability control and driver aids. Meanwhile, an eDrive Zones feature for plug-in hybrids will automatically switch these vehicles to electric power in designated areas.


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