AT&T's New Car-Based Wi-Fi Must Be Plugged Into OBD II Port

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Neither aftermarket or OEM car-based Wi-Fi systems are particularly new.
We had great results testing a system during the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance back in 2012, and the public’s growing unease with being offline has ensured plenty more choices have cropped up in the years since.
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AT&T is the latest to enter the market with its TE Mobley, which is available from today. The TE Mobley promises fast speeds—thanks to its Qualcomm MDM9215 processor—and a cord-free, plug-and-play setup, which sounds great.
But here’s the rub: to work, the device needs to be plugged into the car’s OBD II port.
According to the company, this allows Wi-Fi to be available whenever the car is on, which is certainly convenient. But in an era where mobile users are increasingly attuned to privacy concerns, the decision to utilize a direct line to the vehicle’s computer—simply to provide power—seems at best, ill-planned and at worst, sinister.
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Back in July, a pair of hackers demonstrated their ability to completely gain control of a 2014 Jeep Cherokee, and the stunt lead to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles [NYSE:FCAU] recalling 1.4 million vehicles.
Why the TE Mobley doesn’t feature a conventional charging solution is unclear, but we expect some tech-savy folks to balk at the idea of connecting an Internet-enabled device to their vehicle’s diagnostic equipment.
Buyers can purchase the unit outright for $100, or get it for free with a two-year contract. Those on the company’s Mobile Share Value Plan can add Wi-Fi service for an additional $10, while DataConnect subscribers can opt to pay either $20 for 1 GB or $30 for 3 GB.
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Source: CarConnection
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