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Audi signs T-Mobile, gets AT&T

Audi announced it would use T-Mobile connectivity in its new A7 and A8 models.

Audi Google Earth
T-Mobile's network will let Audi incorporate Google Earth into its navigation system. Audi

Right on the heels of AT&T's T-Mobile acquisition, Audi announced it would use T-Mobile as the wireless carrier for the connected functions of its luxury vehicles, such as the A8 and A7. It is strange timing for Audi's announcement.

The mobile connectivity lets Audi integrate services such as Google search, local fuel prices, and traffic with the car's navigation system. Audi will even make Google Earth available as part of the navigation system. The wireless connection also turns the car's Wi-Fi network into a hot spot.

The T-Mobile service will first launch in the 2012 A7 model. The car will come with a SIM card, giving the buyer six months of connectivity for free. Afterward, the car owner will need to sign up for a T-Mobile data plan.

According to Audi's press release, it "turned to T-Mobile as the wireless provider because of its reliable, nationwide network." With the AT&T acquisition, that network will offer greater coverage, although Audi does not say whether it knew about the acquisition while making the decision to use T-Mobile.

AT&T could be gaining a captive market of Audi buyers, along with the ability to offer incentives to sign up with its other services.