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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My OnStar 3 gigabyte "free trial" ends tomorrow. They have already transferred $10 from me to them (in May) for the next month (Aug. 16th to Sep. 15th), but if I call today and cancel, I can have that refunded. I used 1.3 gB of my 3.0 gB over these 3 months. I like the concept of constantly being in WiFi (hot spot) range, and my wife does occasionally use her iPad on WiFi, but her phone has unlimited data and we are nearly always in cell range.

I did not like how, in nearly every usage, GoogleMaps (via Android Auto) "lost GPS signal". I would have to unplug, go to Maps, voice-reactivate the route, push the "Directions" icon and then the "Start" icon - all while driving. GoogleMaps works when you are not in WiFi range, so is this related to cell service, WiFi, or GPS deficiency? Since my phone was linked to hot spot WiFi, did it always try to get map data from WiFi and not my data plan?

I sprung for a Garmin DriveSmart with voice control. So far, I like it better. I never lose adequate signals. It is very accurate. The mapping is easy to follow. It stays put on the dash. (I don't like the hanging cord, but I can get used to it.) I can pre-program multiple destinations (including many of the DCFC stations along and near my route). And it gives me the speed limit on all roads on which I am driving!

I called OnStar and learned that you can buy the $10/mo. 1 gB plan even if you do not subscribe to any of the three OnStar service plans (Protection/Security/Guidance). Do any of you see an advantage to continuing OnStar's data plan? Will I notice any loss of Bolt navigation/communication ability? (I will still always have my cell phone & my Garmin GPS in the car.) I shall appreciate hearing the wisdom of your experiences.
 

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This is a great question - I am currently mulling this over as well. While I have unlimited data for the whole fam, on our recent trip to the White mountains, I had zero signal on my phones. I foolishly didn't navigate the whole way as I had a good sense of the route and which exit to take on the major freeway. But once we took the exit, I needed navigation to our airbnb and my phone wasn't cooperating. However, since somehow there was a bar of signal from att, I logged in to the car wifi and we were able to navigate. But I know I would never need this all the times we will be driving in Boston or even towards NYC/NJ to visit my parents. So, I am probably going to get a plan before any nature camping trips and cancel at the end of month or something like that....
 

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So I will give my experience and reasoning why I went what I did. I got the 20$ a month unlimited plan they offered for the car, without an OnStar subscription.

First reason, I don't have an unlimited data plan on my cell and to go to that would be more than 20$ a month. Since I have been using the car wifi unlimited plan I also dropped my cell data plan down a tier saving me another 20$, so it is basically paying for itself.

Second reason, the receiver/transmitter in the car (same thing as in our phones) is much more powerful and able to receive and send signal when my phone is not. The one in the car is not limited in size and has a much stronger power source. This means there have been many times when I still had data connection with the car even though my phone had nothing.

Third reason, I can use my car as a wifi spot long as I am within 50 feet of it. So if I go to a starbucks or somewhere else that has public unsecure wifi I don't actually need to use theirs and be on their unsecure and slow wifi. Long as I can be near my car I can just stay connected to it and not worry about anything else. (before anyone says it, yes I know I can use a VPN to make a public wifi secure for me, I of course already do that, I just prefer the option of my own connection completely if it is an option)

Fourth reason, me and my family can use a lot of data while out and about and now I don't need to plan for a drive. Before I would always have to make sure I had the music I wanted downloaded, videos kids and wife wanted downloaded so we didn't kill all of our data on the cell plan. Now that isn't an issue, I just get in and go and use the car wifi. It doesn't seem to have any problem with 3 people streaming video and me streaming music. (when we do that, it isn't always like that)

So that is why I chose what I did.

That may not be the right choice for everyone but it worked out well for me.


I will say though if you are often in areas that have spotty coverage for you phone the car will have a better chance of getting signal with just due to not being limited like the receiver/transmitter in your phone. Bigger antenna, transmitter and power source. Of course you can still lose signal as the car still has to be within FCC guidelines to not cause interference with other devices. It however can push the limits of those limits where the phone receiver and transmitter are just not capable of that, well unless they make the phone larger.
 

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Third reason, I can use my car as a wifi spot long as I am within 50 feet of it. So if I go to a starbucks or somewhere else that has public unsecure wifi I don't actually need to use theirs and be on their unsecure and slow wifi. Long as I can be near my car I can just stay connected to it and not worry about anything else. (before anyone says it, yes I know I can use a VPN to make a public wifi secure for me, I of course already do that, I just prefer the option of my own connection completely if it is an option)
Sorry to bug you on this but I really like the idea of unlimited plan (I used 1Gb on my first day) but if you are sitting at a Starbucks within range of the car do you have to leave the Bolt on to get wifi from it?

I have multiple cases when I hit the limit on iphone (3gig plan) and I need to wait to get home to load my podcasts and other stuff.
 

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I'm on the Trial. So far, I've used only 0.5 Gb of the 3 Gb Trial over the last 2 weeks.

I can add my Bolt to my ATT plan for only $10/month which might be worth it just for the convenience standpoint (using my iPhone as a hotspot is the other option but sometimes I have to reconnect manually.) May also be helpful for the occasional times that there is poor cell phone signal too.

May end up being dependent on whether I continue to use the combination of my iPhone for CarPlay and my iPad Mini for Waze.
 

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I went for the $20/month unlimited plan. My family really loves this feature. My daughter uses it for homework on her laptop (45 min drive each way). Then on trips, she watches Netflix on the laptop.

Google Maps and Waze use a ton of data for GPS. In fact, I used up my trial data in the first month. Now I don't worry about it. And like someone already mentioned, the car's antenna is MUCH better than the one in your cell phone. You get much better coverage and throughput.

I didn't have an unlimited plan for the cell phones, but now I'm thinking of getting something even cheaper like Community Cellular. Between home and car, I'm hardly ever off of WiFi. So the $20 unlimited plan may pay for itself once I switch.
 

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I'll need to learn more about this feature. When I purchased last month and OnStar came along, I opted for the $10 a month data plan. When does this ever get consumed, though, as I thought using my cell phone tethered with Android Auto to have Google maps, that the cell phone's data would be consumed?

Looked at the MyChevrolet (OnStar) app, and see that the 3 month/3 GB trial, with 2 more months to go, still has 2.6 GB remaining.
 

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Sorry to bug you on this but I really like the idea of unlimited plan (I used 1Gb on my first day) but if you are sitting at a Starbucks within range of the car do you have to leave the Bolt on to get wifi from it?

I have multiple cases when I hit the limit on iphone (3gig plan) and I need to wait to get home to load my podcasts and other stuff.
Yes the car does have to be on, when you turn it off the wifi is also turned off. When I do it I just take the key with me, lock it and I only do it when I can keep my car in view.
 

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This is pretty cool high-speed internet! I used a WiFi extender to reach the TV in my living room about 80 ft from the Bolt in the garage. I've been watching a movie on Amazon Prime and it is streaming very nice.

I live out in the country and the best high-speed internet I can get is not always working. Many nights I can't even watch a movie and even worse in the morning when I need to be on the Internet it's cutting in and out. I'm paying $40/month because that's the only high-speed internet out here.

I put the Bolt in service mode and shut off the outside lights, but it does drain the 12-volt battery pretty fast. After 2 hours it was down to 11.7 v. I hooked up the battery charger on the lowest setting and it maintains the battery voltage and is only drawing about 50 Watts at 110 volts.

Thanks for sharing about this OnStar $20 /month unlimited data plan. I'm not sure this is what Chevy/OnStar had in mind for using unlimited 4G data, but I sure do like this. Does it drop to a lower speed after a certain limit of gigabytes has been reached?
 

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Using service mode and a 12 volt battery charger

I put the Bolt in service mode and shut off the outside lights, but it does drain the 12-volt battery pretty fast. After 2 hours it was down to 11.7 v. I hooked up the battery charger on the lowest setting and it maintains the battery voltage and is only drawing about 50 Watts at 110 volts.
The service mode will drain the battery dead in about 5-6 hours. Its an AGM battery, so you need to take care in recharging to make sure it is charged properly.

So, when you hooked up the battery charger to the 12 volt battery, did you turn off the infotainment screen? How long did you use the Wifi while the charger was connected? Did you leave the car plugged into the main charger while you were doing this?
 

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Thanks for sharing about this OnStar $20 /month unlimited data plan. I'm not sure this is what Chevy/OnStar had in mind for using unlimited 4G data, but I sure do like this. Does it drop to a lower speed after a certain limit of gigabytes has been reached?
I'm also curious about the data limit. ATT and Verizon usually top off at 10-15 GB, which can be eaten up pretty quickly if you're watching movies on iTunes or Netflix.

Would have to say the Bolt may be the most expensive Hotspot I've come across :)
 

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Number of devices limited to eight, on Wifi

Does it drop to a lower speed after a certain limit of gigabytes has been reached?
The only limitation I have found is the number of devices. I had my whole house running on the Bolt EV's wifi, but there were a few devices I could not connect, such as my Nest thermostat. The limit is eight devices. So, with with three computers, a couple of Bolt TiVos, some security cams, and so on, pretty soon I could not connect any more devices.
 

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The service mode will drain the battery dead in about 5-6 hours. Its an AGM battery, so you need to take care in recharging to make sure it is charged properly.

So, when you hooked up the battery charger to the 12 volt battery, did you turn off the infotainment screen? How long did you use the Wifi while the charger was connected? Did you leave the car plugged into the main charger while you were doing this?
.

I'm using a smart charger and it automatically selects the 12 volt gel battery. I forgot to shut off the infotainment screen, that would help reduce the load. I did not plug in the main charger. I used the WiFi for about 4 hours and completely used up the 3 gigabytes with the free trial. I have paid the 20 bucks for one month of unlimited data, so we will see how this is going to work out.

I suspect after 22 gigs the speed will drop down to 2 or 3 G and that won't be enough for streaming movies.
 

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I also got the Unlimited AT&T plan. However, when I do a Speed test on it, the app reports that the network is Verizon instead of At&T. anyone else seeing this?
 

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This is very interesting. So I can get a WiFi data plan, from on star, without getting On Star service? Is this information on their website? Or was this something they offered you on the phone when you told them you were going to cancel?

My free trials are going to expire soon, and we've been debating what to keep, if anything. I quite like the Sirius XM radio, so we'll probably keep that. But I really don't know what to do about On Star. I don't really see the benefits. I've got a cell phone and AAA. What do I need On Star for? Am I missing something?
 

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On Star Data Plan

Yes, the two plans are priced separately. I have the data plan but only the free (for 5 years) basic service plan.

yes you can get a data plan on a monthly basis starting at around 10 bucks a month; I bought this prior to a couple of road trips to Oregon; it worked out very well. It's completely separate from the free 5 year on star plan.
 

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So what's the Free 5yr Plan? (Seems kind of contradictory: "Free" & "Plan")

I only took a cursory look at the website, and didn't see any of this.
 

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the free plan comes with the purchase of your car; you get monthly diagnostic reports; GM collects data on your car; hit the blue onstar button for details from onstar
 

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This is very interesting. So I can get a WiFi data plan, from on star, without getting On Star service? Is this information on their website? Or was this something they offered you on the phone when you told them you were going to cancel?

My free trials are going to expire soon, and we've been debating what to keep, if anything. I quite like the Sirius XM radio, so we'll probably keep that. But I really don't know what to do about On Star. I don't really see the benefits. I've got a cell phone and AAA. What do I need On Star for? Am I missing something?
If you like Sirius XM and can go a few weeks without it, let it expire. In a few weeks you’ll get a letter offering 5 or 6 months for about $30, versus $15 per month if you just sign up for the regular price.
 
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