Some older Tesla models from 2012 onwards are starting to see issues with connecting to the 3G networks, as some phone carriers are starting to disable their legacy 3G networks in favour of the new 5G rollout, with 4G LTE being the new minimum going forward.

Right from the start, Tesla started including 3G modems in their cars to make sure remote firmware updates can be managed, customers can connect to their car remotely and more. The company made sure that the cars had internet connectivity so it could collect data about how many miles its fleet had done and also, collect information about how the Autopilot system is performing.

Tesla Model S cars from 2012 until June 2015 had 3G modems included, from then on those cars came with 4G LTE instead. Tesla sent out a warning letter a few days ago outlining that as of 22nd February, those older Model S will start to lose connectivity on the 3G AT&T network. Tesla is offering upgrades for those cars with a new 4G LTE modem.

The upgraded modem will cost $200 USD plus any taxes (£150) and can be arranged from the Tesla app by going to Schedule Service > Upgrades & Accessories > LTE Upgrade. This price isn’t bad considering those older Model S cars do have Premium Connectivity service for life, which is usually $9.99 per month.

Tesla has outlined what features on the car will not be available once it goes offline:

  • Remotely control climate controls, locks and charge settings
  • Get navigation and traffic updates, including Supercharger availability and outage information
  • Stream music online using your touchscreen
  • Receive remote diagnostic support from roadside assistance
  • Access over-the-air software updates