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AT&T waves its magic wand, turns that $30,000 Audi into a Wi-Fi hotspot

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AT&T will provide high-speed mobile internet to Audi's LTE-equipped A3 line of cars in the US.

The network operator will offer a pair of contracts: a six-month plan carrying 5GB of data over that period, and a 30-month plan with a 30GB cap. Customers will get a free six-month trial of the service upon purchasing an 2015 A3 – which sells for about $29,000. The six-month contract carries a $99 price tag, while the 30-month plan will run to $499. Users will be able to bundle both contracts into their existing plans.

The service will be the first high-speed LTE plan Audi has offered to motorists in the US. The company previously offered a 3G service through AT&T.

In the UK, Audi partners with LTE carriers to offer a service for its A3 line. A 2013 Reg review in London of the S3 found that while the connectivity can at times be spotty, the wireless broadband features on the car made for a fine Wi-Fi hotspot for passengers, though something of an distraction for a driver looking to handle the considerable muscle of the Audi.

While mobile data connections in cars are nothing new, manufacturers and software companies have stepped up efforts to improve the integration of apps and flash motors. At this year's CES, smart cars were among the biggest draws. Apple, for instance, is baking media players and personal assistant tools into cars. ®

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