3G Cellular Network Retirement

Posted on July 14, 2021

AT&T has recently announced that it will discontinue its 3G cellular service by February 2022. Once AT&T’s 3G service is discontinued, Model S vehicles built before June 2015 without a 4G/LTE capable modem will not be able to enjoy the following features unless connected to Wi-Fi:

  • Roadside assistance to unlock your vehicle remotely
  • Certain mobile app capabilities, including Summon, cabin pre-conditioning, vehicle location, remote unlock, etc.
  • Certain Infotainment features, including navigation, maps, live traffic updates, up-to-date Supercharger availability and outage information, online music streaming, and onboard map updates
  • Over-the-air updates

In order to maintain cellular connectivity after AT&T discontinues its 3G network, your vehicle will need an LTE-capable modem. To purchase and have this modem installed by Tesla, simply schedule a service appointment through your Tesla mobile app. Select ‘Schedule Service’ > ‘Upgrades & Accessories’ > ‘LTE Upgrade.’ This LTE modem upgrade is available for $200 USD plus applicable taxes and includes installation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I still access these features if I am connected to Wi-Fi?
Yes. You may access the affected features when connected to a Wi-Fi network. However, some features, such as navigation, maps, live traffic updates, and live Supercharger information may not be accessible solely with a Wi-Fi connection as they are typically used while the vehicle is being driven.

How do I know if my vehicle will be affected?
Your vehicle will be affected by AT&T’s 3G network shutdown if it is a Model S vehicle built before June 2015 and has not been upgraded to an LTE-capable modem or purchased Infotainment Upgrade, as these vehicles were not produced with a 4G/LTE capable modem.

You can also check your vehicle’s cellular network by looking at the connectivity status bars/icon near the top of the touchscreen. If ‘LTE’ is displayed next to this icon at any time (may require stable cellular connectivity), your vehicle will not be affected by AT&T’s 3G network shutdown.

How long does it take to upgrade to an LTE-capable modem?
Upgrading to an LTE-capable modem will take between 1 hour and 1.5 hours by itself. However, if the upgrade is performed in the same appointment as a media control unit (‘MCU’)/touchscreen repair, only 20 to 30 minutes will be added to the repair time. One example of an MCU repair is the VCM daughterboard replacement required to address the 8GB eMMC recall.

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