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Open Roads Forum  >  Technology Corner

 > OnStar requires update due to 3G end of life

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Retired JSO

North Georgia Mountains

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Posted: 02/27/22 06:25pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

OnStar is satellite, turn by turn traffic avoidance is via cell tower. I understand OnStar will make the updates needed via satellite. Most things other than up to date traffic will not be affected.





ktmrfs

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Posted: 02/27/22 07:05pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Retired JSO wrote:

OnStar is satellite, turn by turn traffic avoidance is via cell tower. I understand OnStar will make the updates needed via satellite. Most things other than up to date traffic will not be affected.


NO depending on vintage Onstar uses either Verizon or ATT wireless for cummunication it is NOT a sat system. It uses GPS to determine location, just like a traditional GPS unit, but cell for ALL communications Early systems were CDMA, then 3G, latest 4G There are many many places in the midwest and away from populations where ONSTAR communication does NOT work.

As mentioned below, the car cell phone uses 3 watts instead of 0.6 watts for a handheld cell phone, so it does give better range, but still there are places with limited or no coverage. Worst coverage areas are North south from eastern washington through mid montana pretty much on a north south line. Many parts of idaho and montana have NO coverage for considerable distance and many places with very limited and marginal coverage.



On several of our favorite trips we have 50-75 miles of highway where Onstar communication does NOT have cell coverage (No ATT) and does not function. You can't contact onstar, can't download turn by turn, can't get help, and our kids can't track us.

And many of our favorite out in the boondock campsites we have no Onstar communication either.

That's where the Garmin Inreach Iridium sat communicator comes into use.

take a look at the Onstar coverage map and it will be clear it is not a sat system.


A Quote from Onstar:

At its most basic, OnStar consists of four different types of technology: cellular, voice recognition, GPS and vehicle telemetry. All of the services that OnStar provides are a result of one or more of these technologies working together.
OnStar's cellular service is voice-activated and hands-free. The console contains a built-in microphone and uses the car speakers. To make a call, you speak a phone number or a previously stored name associated with a phone number. The console is connected to a Vehicle Comm and Interface Module (VCIM), which uses a cellular antenna on top of the car to transmit signals to OnStar's cellular network. (For more information on cellular technology, see How Cell Phones Work.) OnStar's cellular service has a better range than most cell phones (although you can still lose service in remote areas), with a full three watts instead of a regular cell phone's 0.6 watts. With some OnStar plans, you can also use the cellular service just as you would a regular cell phone plan.

* This post was last edited 02/27/22 08:34pm by ktmrfs *   View edit history


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ktmrfs

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Posted: 02/27/22 07:06pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

pianotuna wrote:

ktmrfs wrote:

It went away in Canada a few years ago. Last of Verizon will be shut down by end of December 2022

And for the last few years there were lots of places that 3G transmitters were shut down, coverage is sporatic.


Hi ktmrfs,

3g for data disappeared--but for voice, it is alive and well in Canada.


Ah... that explains why car mfg for Canadian vehicles upgraded from 3G to 4G several years ago. They needed the data as well.

* This post was edited 02/27/22 07:27pm by ktmrfs *

NamMedevac 70

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Posted: 02/27/22 08:41pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

OnStar finally ceased sending me daily mailings and spam phone calls to subscribe to their service. I listen to only music on standard radio and plugged in smartphone. All is good.

BurbMan

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Posted: 02/28/22 05:26am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

When analog service shut down, GM told me that OnStar in my '01 Suburban was not upgradable, they offered me a $1000 discount to buy a new GM that had digital OnStar. I put in a Pioneer touch screen radio with nav and bluetooth and said goodbye to OnStar.

joebedford

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Posted: 02/28/22 10:25am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

OP here: I called Onstar again today to ask them if there was a deadline for getting an over-the-air upgrade to 4G. TODAY I was told that they're still working on a solution for Canada and that it's a hardware upgrade!!!! They say I'll get a notification when there is a solution but until then, all my services will work including wifi.

I told them that that information is inconsistent with what I was told yesterday but the agent said "I can assure you I'm giving you the most up-to-date information".

So now I'm at a loss what to do. I think I'll phone my local dealer to find out if they know anything. EDIT: the dealer knows nothing about the issue.

* This post was edited 02/28/22 01:13pm by joebedford *

ItsyRV

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Posted: 02/28/22 08:08pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Joe, is your OnStar operating and active? If so, what did the status page show when you entered your VIN on the website? The 2 to 3G will require a dealer visit to install the module but if already 3G, it's just a matter of when your account comes up for upgrade. OTA upgrades are being done in waves, not all at once.


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Campfire Time

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Posted: 03/01/22 03:15pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Just call Onstar and ask. They can tell you what you need to do, if anything.


Chuck D.
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joebedford

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Posted: 03/01/22 09:39pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

OP: I put my truck into storage shortly after I got home from Florida in March 2020. I cancelled Onstar because they would only put it on suspension for 6 months. I knew it would be off the road for a year (HAH! - TWO YEARS). The truck's Onstar hardware module was upgraded from 2G to 3G some time ago. I called them twice in the last few days (using the Onstar button) and got a completely different answer each time. First one said it's an over the air upgrade and the second said it's a hardware upgrade but that a plan has not been formulated by GM. The second time I called was to ask if there's a deadline and they said No, we haven't figured out how to do it. The dealer had never heard of the problem.

I don't know where I stand now.

deltabravo

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Posted: 03/02/22 06:45am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

joebedford wrote:

My Silverado is 2011 - built before 4G went into service here - it came from the factory with 2G. The truck is old in years but it only has 110,000km (~65,000 miles) after 11 years - it's just broken in.


Mine is old too, but also rarely driven. 2009 with 73,280 miles.


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