Drivers of 2010-2018 Lexus Vehicles Lose Vehicle Connectivity Services Due to The Recent Shutdown of 3G Cellular Networks
Drivers of some 2010 to 2018 Lexus models equipped with hardware to connect to older 3G cellular networks can no longer use the automaker's "Lexus Enform" subscription-based connectivity services.
As of Nov 1, 2010-2018 Lexus vehicles, including the GS, LS, IC and IS models using 3G networks won't be able to connect to newer 4G, 5G and LTE networks and the hardware that's pre-installed in the vehicles cannot be upgraded, according to Lexus.
The automaker said there are no available retrofit options for these vehicles. Therefore, as of Oct 31, 2022, these vehicles no longer can support Lexus Inform and the 3G connected services will be terminated. Customers are being issued prorated refunds.
Telecommunications providers in North America have already begun the process of shutting down their slower 3G cellular networks in favor of more speedy 5G and LTE. The phase out of 3G has been planned for some time.
AT&T announced that it phased out its 3G network beginning in Feb 2022. Verizon announced that it will shut down its 3G network by Dec 31, 2022. While T-Mobile announced that it completed its shut down of Sprint's 3G CDMA network as of March 31, 2022.
"Telecommunications providers are discontinuing 3G services in favor of newer and more advanced LTE networks," Lexus posted on its owner support website. "Although these circumstances were created by factors beyond our control, we sincerely regret any inconvenience this may cause."
The Lexus Enform connectivity services included "Lexus Enform Safety Connect", which provided drivers with Automatic Collision Notification, Enhanced Roadside Assistance, Emergency Assistance Button and Stolen Vehicle Locator. This service is being shutdown for all 2010-2017 Lexus models except the 2016-2017 CT 200h equipped with the standard audio system.
Lexus Enform Remote is also being shut down for older Lexus models. The subscription package included convenience features such as Remote Engine Start/Stop, Door Lock/Unlock, Vehicle Finder, Guest Driver Monitor, Vehicle Status and Alerts, Key Fob Remote Start, and Integration with Alexa and Google Assistant.
Another subscription package called "Lexus Enform Service Connect" is also being shut down. It provided Vehicle Health Reports, Vehicle Alerts, and Maintenance Alerts reminding drivers to take their vehicles to a local dealer for scheduled maintenance services.
2010 through 2018 Lexus vehicle owners are also losing access to "Lexus Enform Destination Assist", which offered access to a 24-hour live response center agent to help drivers locate an address, business, or point of interest (POI) and wirelessly send it to the vehicle's navigation system.
Drivers that have already paid for these subscription services will be offered prorated refunds. These Refunds were being issued to customers beginning on Nov 1.
To replace these older connectivity services, drivers of 2018 and new Lexus models can use the "Lexus Enform App Suite", which is a collection of popular mobile apps and data services integrated with select 2018-2020 Lexus models that can be accessed via a smartphone. The smartphone syncs with the vehicle using a Bluetooth connection.
The Lexus Enform App Suite does not require a vehicle's 3G network and there are no monthly fees. Instead it relies on a driver's own smartphone data plan. Using a compatible smartphone, the Lexus Enform App Suite offers access to certain mobile applications through the vehicle's infotainment display.
Owners can use the Lexus Enform app to start their vehicle remotely, schedule a service appointment, as well as add individual driver profiles to sync personalized settings from one Lexus vehicle to another.
In addition, the Lexus Remote app can be used to lock and unlock doors, start the engine, locate a parked car, check vehicle status and monitor guest drivers.
Automakers now are migrating to 4G and 5G vehicle connectivity services with faster data speeds, which can support vehicle functions such as automated driving features.
For example, in Sept 2021, General Motors announced a new partnership with AT&T that will bring 5G connectivity to millions of vehicles in the U.S. starting with 2024 model year vehicles.
GM and AT&T are developing a fifth-generation cellular network architecture that will support a network of connected vehicles with ultra-fast faster data speeds. These network enhancements will include improved roadway-centric coverage, faster music and video downloads, faster and more secure over-the-air software updates, faster navigation, mapping, and voice services.
GM was one of the first automakers to offer connectivity features in its vehicles when its launched OnStar back in 1997. Drivers with OnStar can summon help on demand, including if they run out of gas or experience a flat tire. GM now offers OnStar and Connected Services to over 16 million customers in the U.S. and Canada.
Also in 2021, Ford Motor Co and Google announced a strategic partnership to reinvent the connected vehicle experience. As part of the strategic partnership, future Ford and Lincoln vehicles will support Google's new Android Automotive OS.
Eventually millions of Ford and Lincoln vehicles will be powered by the Android Automotive OS, which means that popular Google apps and services such as Maps and Google Assistant will be built-in to the vehicle's infotainment system without having to sync a cellphone.
Lexus made plans to migrate customers last year in preparations for the shutdown of 3G-powered connected services. Starting on Sept 1, 2021, available Lexus Enform subscription services were being offered on a month-to-month basis for these impacted 2010-2108 Lexus vehicles. However, access to all of these monthly services officially ended on Oct, 31, 2022.
The more recent advancements in the auto industry are software-defined vehicles that can be updated via over-the-air software, which was pioneered by Tesla. It can also provide automakers with additional revenue streams in the future as drivers can download apps right to their vehicles or unlock new vehicle features by paying a monthly fee.
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