Tesla applies for machine-to-machine cellular data service in its electric cars

Tesla has applied to offer telecommunication services in Canada, including “machine-to-machine cellular data service” in its electric cars.

Starting with the Model S in 2012 and for a decade now, Tesla has been leading the auto industry in the level of connectivity inside its vehicles.

Tesla has made software a priority in its product, and internet connectivity enables it to push software updates over-the-air to its customer fleet as well as collect data from it, which has been particularly useful in its effort to develop self-driving technology.

At first, internet connectivity was completely free in all Tesla vehicles.

Basic connectivity is still technically free in all Tesla vehicles, but Tesla started requiring a new paid “premium connectivity” package for a monthly fee to access some of the more data-heavy connectivity features in 2018. Since then, Tesla owners have had to decide if they want to pay $10 per month for the premium connectivity service or not.

Lately, there have been indications that Tesla could take the level of connectivity in its vehicles to a new level.

Today, we learn that Tesla applied for a Basic International Telecommunications Service (BITS) license with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). If approved, it would technically allow Tesla to become a telecommunications reseller service in Canada.

In the application, Tesla made it clear that they don’t plan to operate transmission facilities:

Tesla does not, and does not intend to, own or operate transmission facilities in Canada.

Instead, Tesla noted that it plans to offer “machine-to-machine cellular data in-vehicle” (via Mobile Syrup):

Tesla’s application says it will provide machine-to-machine cellular data service for in-vehicle infotainment access, internet access, and “mobile terminating SMS to wake up vehicles.

Interestingly, CEO Elon Musk recently said that SpaceX’s Starlink internet satellite would offer connectivity to Tesla vehicles in the future.

Starlink recently launched its service for moving vehicles, and it looks like Tesla could adopt the technology instead of relying on a regular cellular data connection.

At this point, it’s unclear if this application to offer telecom services in Canada is related to this effort.

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