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Can You Swap The SIM Card In Your Car?

Listener Steve in Lake Villa, Illinois wants to know if he can move his car's internet service to a different carrier

OnStar

Steve said: Bought the wife a new Chevy Equinox and it came with an AT&T Data plan for three months. That ended and we didn’t want to pay for it. I use Verizon. Any way to find the SIM card in the car and swap it? I have a data plan with Verizon and figured I’d just use that. I didn’t know if that network was compatible or if the car even had a SIM card.

Unfortunately you won’t be able to use Verizon with your wife’s car, ironically, up until recently you wouldn’t have had any choice BUT to use Verizon.

GM replaced Verizon with AT&T as their OnStar data provider starting with their 2015 models (which technically went on sale in mid-2014).

There is no SIM card as far as we know, and you will be stuck with AT&T if you want to use your car’s built-in network features. However, you can still just use your Verizon phone’s hotspot if you prefer. OnStar makes it sound like the connection you get when you go through the car is infinitely superior, but the truth is that unless you’re in an area with poor coverage, you probably won’t notice the difference. The car does have a larger antenna, but in most areas, it doesn’t matter.

you will be stuck with AT&T if you want to use your car’s built-in network features

If all you want to do is use the WiFi hotspot feature, you’re probably better off sticking to your smartphone’s plan, if you’d like to use features like internet radio, it may make more sense to pay the $10/month for the basic plan, but if you’re not interested after the 3 month trial ended then the monthly plan may not be for you.

An alternative to using your smartphone as a wireless hotspot is, as always, the dedicated portable hotspot. Verizon’s Jetpack MiFi 6620L is very highly rated, for example.

The issue with those, as always, is cost. The device itself sells for $199 (or $50 with a two year contract on the data plan). And the data plan won’t piggyback with your current wireless plan, it’s separate. There are also no unlimited plans available, so video streaming will kill you.

The 4GB plan is $30 per month, but that’ll barely watch one movie. The 100GB plan is over $700 per month, so that’s a whole different level of expense. The big advantage to the Jetpack MiFi is that it’s a separate device so you can use it with a smaller data plan and know that ALL you will do is stream videos to the kids in the back seat. Use your phone for everything else.

It’s also quite fast, and it runs for ages on a single battery charge. That’s great news when you’re driving out in the middle of nowhere without a charging port in sight.

Written by Dave Graveline

Dave Graveline

Dave Graveline is the founder, Host & Executive Producer of "Into Tomorrow" in addition to being President of the Advanced Media Network".

Dave is also a trusted and familiar voice on many national commercials & narrations in addition to being an authority in consumer tech since 1994. He is also a former Police Officer and an FBI Certified Instructor.

Dave thrives on audience participation!

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