Tens of Thousands of Remote Start Modules Bricked by 3G Shutoff

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REmote Start Hit by 3G Shutoff

Tens of thousands of aftermarket remote-start-by-phone modules in the field ceased functioning in February, when AT&T cut off its 3G service to make way for the faster 5G network.  Older SmartStart modules by Directed (VOXX) and Drone Mobile modules by Firstech that ran on 3G were now “bricked.”

“Under 10,000” SmartStart models and “under 20,000” Drone Mobile devices that let customers remote start their car from a phone (from virtually anywhere) and track their car were now useless.

Firstech and VOXX are therefore offering customers replacement modules at a discount  These new modules may then be installed at local car audio dealers with about an hour of labor.

Under Directed’s program, an upgrade to a 4G SmartStart comes with a $50 to $100 discount if the customer buys certain services at that time.

Remote start under the VOXX brand was exclusively 4G so no devices were rendered obsolete.

Firstech is moving customers from the older DR-3400 to the newer Drone Mobile X1 with LTE service.

“We’ve been trying to get ahead of this for the past 18 months, emailing customers directly saying that their service will end if they don’t update their hardware,” said Firstech Marketing Director Justin Lee.  “We did get a lot of relief by the extension of the 3G network in Canada. Canadian customers won’t be effected until 2025.”

VOXX Electronics Senior VP  Aron Demers said, “We’ve been reaching out to subscribers that have active devices.  We messaged them regularly to let them know their device service will expire.  It’s in our user license agreement that the device is subject to carrier support.”  Demers said many of the customers are upgrading.

Automakers are in the same boat and millions of vehicles will lose their 3G features by the end of this year, with some requiring a hardware upgrade if owners wish to keep crash notification or remote start from a phone.

Other 3G features that may be impacted include OEM remote unlocking, emergency roadside assistance, navigation map updates and vehicle diagnostics.

For some car makers, an upgrade is not possible and customers will permanently lose features, said Consumer Reports.

Honda owners who didn’t already download a software upgrade may need to pay more than $900 for a hardware upgrade or lose features.  To view the impact on individual car models visit Consumer Reports here.

 

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3 Comments

  1. I SMELL CLASS ACTION LAWSUITS.
    THIS CUTTING OFF 3G services made no sense becusecit operated on different broadband.
    We gave up live overair TV broadcast for this bullshit!
    Had to replace all older Television that didn’t have ditigtal tunners.
    THIS SO CALLED UPGRADE TO 5G HAS COST US BILLIONS And it will make and has made Electronic companies money hand over fist.
    3g was still turning a profitable. Shutting it off forcing everyone into 5g has given telephone service a windfall of cash, when they said it wouldn’t cost us anymore.
    What was the FCC thinking when laws were changed.

    1. I was thinking more in terms of automobiles that cant upgrade. But the alarm systems will generate floor traffic and it might be fixable, ive got a viper phone add on that has never been installed, its usless now
      And it came from my at that time authorization distributor, this really makes me wonder if the sale of DEI was based on this becuse the new owner won’t have to honor a warranty or upgrade it.
      Some Gms won’t have this option for older onstar systems, think how many cell phones went dead that could not update. I HELD onto my CDMA flip phone years after the systems changed it still worked.
      I doubt my Motorola Droid Moto works on any network now its very dated, but still works on wifi. I havnt had to change the battery, I did on my Samsung edge 6
      My note 9 is still on a network. I only replaced the Samsung when the battery swelled up, then used it for online games for 3 to 4 more years
      This phone still gets updates but I could change it now but choose not to as its paid for.
      So end of life is when things are no longer supported?
      Thats a real honest way to drive bussines to your products. Its not its wrong. You’d expect x years out of a product, ive got jackets older then my phone, I can still wear them and do. And its not getting any cheaper to replace old items when they no longer work.

      Its not green to make disposable items, making things durables that last a human lifetime is or somthing you can hand down generations software should never be the issue.

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