BMW Group and Vodafone integrate 5G and personal eSIM networking into a vehicle for the first time

BMW iX first premium vehicle with 5G

With the BMW iX, the BMW Group is the first premium manufacturer to integrate the 5G mobile radio standard into a globally available production vehicle and Vodafone is offering the first 5G mobile radio contract for such a vehicle.

An existing multi-SIM contract can be extended with the Vodafone One Number Car option to activate the Personal eSIM in the vehicle. This makes the vehicle another interconnected device for customers, like a smartwatch. In addition to the high bandwidth and low latency of 5G, they also benefit from significantly improved telephone quality* by the use of four external aerials and a 5G WiFi hotspot* for up to ten devices in the vehicle. The activated Personal eSIM is linked directly to the customer’s BMW ID and can be smoothly transferred to other eSIM-capable vehicles, including the corresponding functions.

Mobility is entering the 5G era for the first time.

The new 5G mobile radio standard will significantly increase the data transmission options compared to the previous standard. This will create new, data-based applications and increase the quality of existing applications many times over. For mobility, this means a comprehensive extension of data-based services in the fields of entertainment and infotainment, automated and assisted driving and, above all, road safety. The 5G standard is a decisive accelerator for future innovations in mobility and other fields of application.

Vodafone and the BMW Group use Personal eSIM and Vodafone One Number Car to connect the vehicle and the customer with mobile radio based on 5G for the first time. The vehicle becomes an integrated part of the networked ecosystem of the customer.

Personal eSIM, real ‘Dual-SIM-Dual-Active’ and WLAN hotspot.

The BMW iX is the technology flagship of the BMW Group and represents a real world first in networking. 5G and eSIM are being used in a production vehicle here for the first time.

In addition to the standard integrated vehicle eSIM, an additional Personal eSIM will be integrated, as previously familiar from smart devices such as tablets or smartwatches. The mobile phone technology installed in the vehicle enables both eSIMs to be active with 5G simultaneously with the full range of services (Dual-SIM-Dual-Active). The BMW iX multi-aerial system, specially developed for 5G, routes the radio signal from the performance-optimised multi-band aerials directly to the vehicle’s infotainment system via a Gigabit Ethernet connection. In future, all passengers will benefit from the improved connection quality and increased data throughput, because a WLAN hotspot* can be activated in the vehicle via the Personal eSIM, allowing up to ten end devices to surf or stream at 5G speed. At the same time, it is no longer necessary to book an additional service or a separate mobile phone rate for the vehicle for a hotspot.

“BMW has always been a pioneer in the networking of mobility. We already installed the first SIM card in a vehicle back in 1997. With the 5G Personal eSIM, we are now integrating a completely new level of connectivity for our customers in the car in cooperation with Vodafone.” says Stephan Durach, Senior Vice President of Connected Company Development and Operations BMW Group

Vodafone introduces the first 5G mobile radio contract for cars.

Vodafone is introducing the first smartphone rate for the car. To be able to use all benefits such as a 5G-optimised connection, improved connection quality and the use of digital services with a high-speed connection in the car, no additional contract needs to be concluded. When the BMW iX is available on the market, Vodafone customers can extend their mobile phone contract with the Vodafone One Number Car option to include the BMW iX and later other enabled BMW models for only 5 euros per month.

“Together with BMW, we are bringing the first 5G car on the road. The multi-aerial system integrates fast network and digital services even better into the vehicle. For the customer in the car, this means even higher mobile phone quality, fewer annoying phone call interruptions and more digital variety to make even better use of the driving time,” says Michael Reinartz, Head of Innovations at Vodafone Germany.

The booking can be easily started in the vehicle and the customer is guided step-by-step by the My BMW App or the My Vodafone App to the conclusion of the contract. When you book the rate option, the eSIM is activated for the vehicle for a one-time fee of 10 euros. After that, Vodafone One Number Car costs € 5 a month. There is no permanent commitment for the customer. The rate option can be cancelled on a monthly basis. Families can thus e.g. book the digital services at short notice for the next holiday trip by car. The mobile phone rate for cars will also be available in other BMW models next year. In addition to the BMW iX, the BMW i4 will also be 5G capable and have the Personal eSIM functions.

Personal eSIM can be transferred to other enabled vehicles.

Once the Personal eSIM has been activated via Vodafone with the Vodafone One Number Car rate, the data is not only stored in the vehicle, but also with the BMW ID. Customers can thus transfer the settings of the Personal eSIM to other enabled vehicles by activating the BMW ID. Activation of the Personal eSIM is carried out automatically with login with the BMW ID and is immediately available. Customers thus turn every 5G-capable BMW (rental or loan vehicle) into their connected device.

* The telephone and WiFi hotspot function will presumably be available by the end of 2021

SOURCE: BMW Group

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