​Telstra inks Model S connectivity deal with Tesla

Telstra will provide the machine-to-machine mobile connectivity for Tesla Motors' Model S electric car in Australia under a new deal signed by the two companies.
Written by Leon Spencer, Contributor

Under a new agreement, Telstra will use its Australian mobile network footprint to provide connectivity for a range of features in Tesla Motors' Model S car that require remote machine-to-machine (M2M) contact, including remote diagnostics and infotainment systems.

Telstra Mobile executive director John Chambers said that the company's mobile network would also make it possible for Model S owners to use a special app to remotely control features in their vehicles.

"Using the Tesla app, owners can check the progress of their vehicle's charge, turn on air-conditioning remotely before hitting the road, and even unlock doors without using a key," said Chambers.

In addition to providing drivers with near real-time information about their vehicle, Telstra is also connecting the remote engine diagnostics system that relays information about the car's performance to Tesla service staff.

"Our network will enable Tesla Model S owners to access live information via the Model S' giant 17-inch touchscreen that controls everything from the suspension to the climate control, through to the sun roof," said Chambers. "Drivers and passengers will be able to use the Telstra network to stream music, pull up high-detail maps and navigation, and access near real-time traffic updates."

Chambers said he believes that Australia is poised to enter an era where cars, like smartphones, connect to mobile networks for improved road safety, maintenance cost reduction, and expanding in-car entertainment and information options.

"Increasingly, technology is becoming top of mind for Australians choosing new cars, and by 2025, we expect 90 percent of new vehicles sold in Australia will come ready to connect to a mobile network," he said.

Telstra claims that its mobile network covers 8,300 kilometres of Australian highways not covered by the other mobile networks operating in the country. Its footprint could expand even further under the government's mobile blackspots program, despite Vodafone Australia warning the government not to favour Australia's largest telco in its AU$100 million program.

Tesla Motors opened the doors of its first Australian showroom in Sydney's St Leonards earlier this month, confirming the locations for its first two supercharging stations in Sydney and releasing a map of its east coast supercharger network. The company's first Model S vehicles began arriving in Australia from December 10.

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