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OnStar Looks to Mexico as the First Test of Global Telematics Platform, GSM

by Roger Lanctot | Sep 06, 2012

OnStar announces its next global launch today as Mexico in 2013, validating Strategy Analytics' analysis when OnStar announced Telefonica as its partner for global expansion earlier this year (http://bit.ly/ORVLii - OnStar Reveals Regional Priorities with Telefonica Selection). Details regarding cars, services, partners and pricing have not yet been announced, but the move will likely serve as a proving ground for faster future market introductions anticipated for larger more strategic markets including Brazil and Europe.

Mexico is GM's fifth largest global market with slightly more than 160,000 units sold in 2011.  Brazil represents approximately four times the volume in Mexico, but given the government's Contran 245 mandate (http://bit.ly/ORYR5S - Brazil: The Embrace of Wireless Technologies Transforms the Telematics Market) for vehicle tracking and immobilization - which has been delayed for the 10th time until January 2013 - it makes sense for GM to proceed with caution. (The rollout in Mexico also allows GM to give its new ATOMS telematics platform a dry run with a GSM network.)

The same is true for Europe, where the eCall mandate has frozen many telematics deployment plans while legal and privacy issues are resolved along with logistical issues related to equipping public service access points with required technology. (http://bit.ly/tunyIL - European eCall Mandate Aims Low, Falls Short) In the end, it is highly likely that OnStar, when it arrives on European shores, will do so as a private solution working in parallel with the public eCall - unfortunately.

General Motors, meanwhile, is on a roll, posting steady sales increases throughout the world, according to the latest sales press release reported by the GMAuthority newsletter (graphic below). No doubt OnStar wants to join and add to that momentum with its value-added vehicle connectivity platform.

The launch of the ATOMS telematics infrastructure platform earlier this year by GM/OnStar has set the stage for rapid global deployment and growth for the service. (http://bit.ly/IpSRmf - OnStar Looks to Unify Connectivity Strategy) Mexico will clearly represent the acid test, serving as a dry run for country rollouts to come as well as a proving ground for the switch to GSM technology.

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