Verizon executives would like it very much if you purchased a Verizon subscription for your… car. The communications giant unveiled a new product, Verizon Vehicle, which will plug into car dashboards and provide real-time engine diagnostic information, Bluetooth-based roadside assistance, and instant emergency alerts. Erik Goldman, a Verizon executive, said at a Detroit press conference that the product would be available to all car owners and would not require a Verizon Wireless account.
The dongles, which plug into OBD-II connectors (found in most cars created after the mid-1990s), could create headaches for automakers with their own telematics systems and a host of startups. Services like GM’s OnStar are reliable revenue generators for midrange and luxury vehicles, while smaller companies like Metromile, Automatic, Mojio, Zubie already offer products similar to Verizon Vehicle. Verizon, of course, has a much bigger marketing budget than any of these little guys, and its distribution infrastructure will make it a formidable opponent.
Goldman added that the dongle is designed to send information on potential auto-related discounts to drivers via SMS text message, email, or phone push notifications. Pricing for Verizon Vehicle is tentatively planned to be $14.99/month for the first car, and $12.99 for each additional auto under a two-year contract. According to Verizon, families with multiple cars are expected to be one of the main buyer categories for the service.