Monday, August 23, 2004

OnStar + Verizon?

Apparently the new versions of OnStar equipment are digital-compatible, so Verizon Wireless has teamed up with OnStar to provide cellular calling via the OnStar equipment powered by Verizon.  This is actually pretty cool because the personal calling offered by OnStar leaves a little bit to be desired and operates over the old analog cellular network; this would actually make me consider switching to Verizon, but, of course, it's not available in my area.

Here's the short deal on how it works:

You pay the yearly OnStar fees for whatever plan you want (don't pay for the personal calling!).  You pay a monthly Verizon Wireless charge for calling service.

It seems that this is a version of a "family plan" where 2 phones share the same rate plan and pool of minutes.  In addition, you can forward all of the calls from your regular Verizon cell phone to your OnStar phone either immediately or after a 4 ring delay.  No voice mail or call waiting is available when the wireless phone has been forwarded to the OnStar phone.  In-Network calling does apply to the OnStar plan.  From the language, it seems that you will pick a home operating state and all of the rest of the states will be "roam" states for the OnStar service.

From the Verizon/OnStar site:

"On July 12, 2004, the AmericaĆ¢€™s Choice with OnStar plans will be available in Atlanta, Detroit, Kansas City, New York and San Francisco. The plans will continue to roll out in many markets through the fall and will be available throughout the Verizon Wireless markets by the end of the year."

For those of you that do not have nor have you ever seen OnStar, the personal calling is all voice-activated; there is no longer a phone handset or keypad to enter in numbers.  In most newer models, there is a button on the steering wheel (or a little white button on the OnStar pad) that allows you to activate personal calling.

Note:  Verizon and OnStar already work together as Verizon owns the analog cell network on which OnStar services currently operate.

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