Verizon Wireless is expanding its little-seen automotive telematics service from automaker partnerships to general consumers with the forthcoming launch of the “Verizon Vehicle” service in the second quarter of the year, with the service expected to go live by June. Verizon Vehicle will consist of a dongle that will connect to a car’s diagnostic port, a Bluetooth speaker/microphone and companion smartphone app will allow the estimated 20 million cars without built-in telematics services to take advantage of the most common features in such services, such as real-time communication with emergency services, vehicle tracking, real-time automotive diagnostics and communication with certified mechanics to diagnose issues.
In an interesting twist, the Verizon Vehicle hardware will not be locked down to Verizon Wireless service, though the carrier does plan to offer its own service plans with pricing to start at $15 per month for the first vehicle equipped with said hardware, and $12.99 for each additional vehicle on an account tied to the service. The goal with the service is to offer the same or similar levels of such services to people that drive much older cars that may not have the modern automaker developed systems that have become commonplace over the past 8 years, first in luxury cars and then further down model ranges in the most recent cars. Verizon currently powers telematics services for Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen AG and Nissan Motor Co among others.