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New Audi models to come with permanently installed SIM card

Audi is now equipping its new models with a factory-installed SIM card.

Models built on the second-generation modular infotainment platform get the permanent SIM card. This enables customers the option to immediately use the range of Audi connect services, with a  flat data rate for up to three years – even outside Germany.

Known as an embedded SIM or eSIM, which customers in Europe will receive in combination with the optional Audi connect equipment package, it brings Audi connect services on board via an LTE/UMTS module with a download speed of up to 100 MBit/s. Powered by Cubic Telecom, services include navigation with Google Earth and Google Street View, travel, traffic and parking information. In addition, drivers can access their Twitter and e-mail accounts and their smartphone’s calendar. The new SIM card contains an unlimited data volume for using these services.

In most European countries, the Audi connect SIM automatically accesses the provider for each specific country, as needed. Audi says this eliminates high, country-specific roaming charges and inconvenient roaming confirmations for the customer.

Customers can also purchase additional data packages for the Wi-Fi hotspot, independent of the integrated Audi connect services - a component of the optional navigation systems. It allows all passengers to surf the internet at ‘attractive rates’ with up to eight mobile devices. If a customer selects a European data package, the data transfer also automatically works accordingly when crossing an international border – and thus when changing internet provider – at fixed prices.

Customers can log in to Cubic Telecom through their myAudi account. After a registering, they can obtain the data package for the Wi-Fi hotspot, purchased directly through the MMI system in the car. Customers may also continue to use their own SIM card in the car and establish Wi-Fi internet access through their own cellular provider. In this case, the data volume used by Audi connect services will also be charged to the customer’s SIM card and the Audi connect SIM temporarily deactivated.

With the new SIM card, access to the use of Audi connect services is available as soon as the car is purchased – and in combination MMI Navigation plus, is free for three years (depending on the model). With MMI Navigation, use is included for three months or, for an additional fee, for three years. After this, customers can ask their Audi service partner to extend access for a fee.

The models with the Audi connect SIM currently include the A3, the A4, the new A5, the Audi Q2 and the Q7. Other model series will follow. The Audi TT, the R8, the A6 and the A7 are currently excluded from this new offer.

Reports suggest that there are plans to roll out the same system in the UK, and eventually worldwide.