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Is the 3G free or what?

My Tesla Rep said it was free
My Tesla Rep said it would cost me after 90 days
My Tesla Rep said it's free until we go to 4G
My Tesla Rep has no clue as to what they are saying

so, no one ever told us who's picking up the tab and the cost for this. We also don't seem to have any way to tether out? What's the real story?

You might ask one of the Tesla reps and see what they say.

Sorry. I couldn't resist

The real story is they are working on it and have not announced anything specific yet.

Basically it's free until they say otherwise, but you need to accept that could be at any time because they never promised you anything (except the sig customers, of course).

I hope it'll stay free with tech package. It was expensive....

It's at least 90 days of free use even if they reach a deal, or until this isn't true anymore.

Once it isn't free, presumably I can get off the crappy AT&T network that has lousy connectivity everywhere I go.

I remember somewhere that it is free for the Signature holders for 1 year.

Indeed, that's why the vocals sometimes sound like the artist is singing while driving at 60mph over a dozen or more evenly spaced speed bumps.

@jat, I wouldn't count on that. At best it could be switched to T-Mobile (the only other major GSM provider in the US). The only good hope for getting off of AT&T is tethering, which will require that they enable wi-fi.

@riceuguy - my other phones are on T-Mobile, and I can add a data-only SIM to my family plan for $10/mo (2G cap before dropping back to edge, might not be enough streaming audio). I would be very surprised if the SIM wasn't accessible.

Anyway, it will probably be a few months before anything changes.

@portia - I think that was the Slacker Radio subscription - Signature gets 1 year, everyone else gets 3 months. I haven't heard any official answer on wireless connectivity yet.

on a sort of related topic, anyone know which carrier they are using now?
I was driving to Gilroy with my Verizon phone, and my husband's AT&T, and the bars on the car looked more like Verizon than AT&T.

I'm pretty sure it is AT&T. If they were using Verizon, they would have to have different hardware for international cars.

GSM has been confirmed which means ATT or T-mobile. Board sentiment strongly favors AT&T as the likely carrier.

AT&T has been confirmed I believe. I'm not so sure the SIM will be accessible, but the 1 year/3 mos. free for sig/non-sig is indeed data. Those have both been officially announced.

Take a look at this thread on

It shows exactly which wireless chips are being used (Sierra Wireless AR8550) by preproduction cars. The information is available on the diagnostic screen.

It's AT&T

There is a lengthy Telematics Services Subscription Agreement in the final MVPA. Basically, it says the service is free until Tesla gives us 30 day notice otherwise, and the service providers will be chosen by Tesla. The rest is left to the lawyers :)

Hm, seems choosing AT&T was about as clever as using Alpine for the Roadster audio.

Well AT&T has good 4G and LTE coverage in the Seattle, LA, and Bay Area.

Tesla confirmed AT&T when I asked about this a few months ago.

@olanmills, don't get your heart set on 4G. As I recall, the Sierra Wireless chip is 3G only, and does not support HSPA+ or the frequency bands AT&T uses for 4G. And Verizon is not an option either, unfortunately, as the chip does not support CDMA of any kind.

Theoretically, you could put in a T-Mobile SIM, but not sure you are going to get any better coverage, as bad as AT&T is.

The likely reason Tesla picked GSM as it works almost world-wide, and they are selling cars world-wide. I think only Japan and Korea use home-grown solutions (not GSM and not CDMA). One reason the newest phones and features appear on GSM first is the ability to sell them world-wide. GSM market is about 5 times larger than CDMA.

This is not a statement that GSM is better than CDMA or the reverse, but it's more like the old Beta vs VHS battle. The one that sells the most usually wins and/or has a huge advantage. Some of the top CDMA phones now include all the GSM hardware so they can be used outside the USA, but that just adds cost and complexity to the design.

I also thought that Tesla some time back stated it will support 4G in a software update, but has never stated it would support LTE. That update might also need a carrier agreement, which could be why it's taking a while to hammer it all down and get a perfect answer. It will come.

I picked up my car today and was told 3G was free for 3 months only. I was shocked because I asked about the 3G last month (August 2013) when I was considering purchasing, and was told clearly, without any qualification whatsoever that the wireless 3G was totally free and Tesla would never ask me to pay for it. I was extremely impressed and said so. But apparently - SHOCK - Tesla is not immune to puff-talk!!! Now I find this thread (shame on me for not volkerizing sooner!!!). Given how old this issue apparently is, I'm a little disappointed in Tesla - this two-answer to one question that appears to be "standard" is not worthy of such a great car and company.

I was told by a rep in the showroom as recently as this weekend that the 3G was free, and would be for at least a year. However, I've seen enough of these threads to know that it doesn't look like Tesla has any idea what it's going to do with the data plans.

Take away the data plan and a lot of what I think is cool about the car disappears. Given what AT&T charges for data plans, I foresee an expensive monthly bill on the way.

I was told a week ago at delivery of the car that it would be free "forever". I specifically asked this.

I was told two weeks ago when I was ordered that it was free until Tesla figured out their long term plans with respect to coverage which they've been working on for over a year. I was also told that you are guaranteed a minimum of three free months regardless when their new plans come out. She also said that they've been saying the same thing for at least 18 months and hasn't heard anything about them coming closer to offering a new plan.

Most people assume it will be free until Tesla figures out a contract that includes 4G.

I kind of figure that 3G will continue free for quite awhile, but at some point 4G will be required and it will no longer be free.

I was told that 3G is free for life but 4G will have a charge. I was also told that the cars have much if not all of the 4G hardware already onboard.

When I took a test drive last week the Geneva rep told me that it's free because they haven't reached a global deal yet. Once they do they'll introduce data plans and if you don't want you'll have to use your phones tethering to access the web. I guess the telemetry etc data and updates will still come for free.

The cars don't have 4G hardware. 3G data is free until Tesla rolls out the data plans in conjunction with AT&T. They've stated tethering will be functional in cars before the roll out the data plans so people can opt to tether to their phones network as an option. After the rollout, the free 3G will likely be limited to 3 months. As Mario stated, telemetry and updates will still be available via the 3G data connection even if you don't have a data plan.

As far as why they went 3G/GSM, others have addressed that above. Coverage was deemed more important than speed--3G is sufficient for maps, music...slow browser speed is not a data connection speed issue).

I have been thinking that they were holding back on the roll-out the 3G subscription plan until all the cars were updated to be Wi-Fi capable so that people could use their own hot-spots, phones and home Wi-Fi for connectivity. People wanted that choice.

There was a "leak" hidden on a webpage 6 months or so ago about the plan pricing and there was plenty of complaints here about the pricing plan.

On the other hand, Tesla may have decided that it is more trouble than it is worth to set up for billing and to deal with the regulations regarding the re-sale of cellular service.

Originally, the Signatures were supposed to get one year of free service and Production cars were supposed to get 3 months free.