Tesla Model S owners with pre-June 2015 builds of the company’s flagship sedan are set to lose some connectivity features in their vehicle as AT&T is gearing up to shut down its inferior 3G network.
Due to the recent phase-out of older cellular networks like 3G, Tesla Model S vehicles built before June 2015 are still operating with the old MCU chip that cannot connect to LTE networks. AT&T’s decision to shut down the 3G network it has operated since 2004 in February 2022. The company stated that more effective networks, like LTE, 4G, and 5G, offer customers faster speeds. The 3G network is inferior compared to the newer, more advanced cellular networks, and 3G is not needed anymore.
According to Tesla enthusiast Sawyer Merritt, an inside source has indicated that these vehicles without the MCU2 upgrade will lose certain connectivity features when the 3G network is shut down. The only way these features will continue to operate without the MCU2 upgrade is if the vehicle is connected to Wi-Fi.
Merritt indicates that Tesla will be offering retrofits for these vehicles for a bargain price of only $200, even though the vehicles affected by this could be up to nine years old.
BREAKING: A source has informed me that due to AT&T shutting down its 3G network by Feb 2022, Model S’s without an LTE-capable modem will lose connectivity features unless connected to WiFi. HOWEVER, Tesla will offer retrofits for $200. Affected vehicles are pre June 2015.
— Sawyer Merritt 📈🚀 (@SawyerMerritt) July 16, 2021
Interestingly, Infotainment Upgrades for owners who drive pre-April 2018 versions of the Model S or Model X are eligible to purchase the MCU2 upgrade as well, but it’s available for $2,000 plus tax unless Autopilot Computer 2.0 or 2.5 is installed. For these vehicles, the upgrade is only $1,500.
Infotainment Upgrades are not uncommon for owners of older Tesla vehicles, and we have covered some owner’s experiences in the past. More often than not, the MCU2 upgrade is utilized to gain better performance with smoother instrument cluster commands, access to streaming music and the Tesla Arcade, the added ability to watch YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu, new Driver Assistance features like Driving Visualization, DashCam, and Cellular and WiFi connectivity.
Unfortunately, when MCU2 upgrades occur, owners lose access to AM and FM radio, as well as SiriusXM.
While it is unfortunate some owners of Teslas older vehicles will have to upgrade to keep these connectivity features, it is likely a good thing to have owners operating with MCU2. Because of the chip’s increased capability, owners can experience more features with their cars. At the same time, the upgrade also offers better software performance with more responsive and smoother operation with the touchscreen. Additionally, downtime in the Tesla, like when Supercharging, will now offer more options for entertainment.