T-Mobile and BMW are teaming together to launch the first 5G-connected automobiles in the United States: as of today, the new 2022 BMW iX and i4 models are compatible with the company’s 5G network, allowing customers to use their cars as a massive Wi-Fi hotspot.
Adding a BMW to your T-Mobile plan costs $20 per month and allows your car to get unlimited data and voice conversations – even if you don’t have a phone with you. (SMS, on the other hand, is not covered.) In addition to unlimited data in the United States, subscribers will receive 200MB of roaming data if they are driving somewhere where T-network Mobile’s does not reach, as well as 5GB of 4G data per month in Canada and Mexico (once that 5GB allotment is used up, you will still receive unlimited data at T-standard Mobile’s international speed of up to 128kbps).
The new BMW models include an eSIM, which is akin to an LTE-connected smartwatch, which means you won’t have to fiddle with a little SIM card to link your car. It also means that if you’re logged into your BMW account, you’ll be able to bring your service with you to other vehicles: so if you rent a 5G-compatible BMW while on vacation, you’ll still be able to connect to T-internet. Mobile’s
According to T-Mobile, you will be able to connect up to ten devices to your automobile at once. While $20 per month to use your car as a hotspot isn’t exactly inexpensive, it is less expensive than obtaining a specialized 5G hotspot from T-Mobile. T-Mobile charges $336 for a standalone 5G hotspot, plus $50 per month for 100GB of data – compared to a BMW, which gives unlimited 5G data for for $20 per month. However, you’re paying a lot more for the hardware, as a BMW iX with 5G starts at $87,025, while an i4 starts at $55,700 (thanks to a $300 add-on for 5G compatibility).
T-Mobile and BMW aren’t the only carriers and automakers attempting to combine 5G with automobiles: Audi is collaborating with Verizon, as are GM and AT&T, to offer support in 2024. That means we’ll almost probably see a lot more 5G vehicle announcements in the coming months.