Connected cars’ dirty little secret: They’re the trailing edge of 5G adoption

The connected-car industry has a paradox hiding under its hood: While the radio in a new car will have to serve for years and possibly decades longer than the radio in a new phone, vehicles rolling off assembly lines today remain far more likely to include only 4G connectivity.

At MWC Las Vegas, a panel track Thursday morning yielded that warning, but also forecasts of safer roads, more personalized in-car experiences and expanded business models that a 5G-fueled future can deliver for connected vehicles…

The program opened with TechInsights analyst Roger Lanctot outlining the box that automakers have put themselves in by sticking with LTE—by that research firm’s estimates, 5G won’t show up on most new light-duty vehicles produced until 2027. And that looked optimistic compared to Qualcomm’s estimate of 2028 for 5G to cross 50%, as shared by product-management VP Jeff Arnold.

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