Bye Bye, Analog OnStar

General Motors, which cannot afford to lose any customers these days, is alienating a big chunk of them – about half a million – thanks to wireless providers’ government-approved plans to drop analog support from their cellular networks on Jan. 1.

Here’s why: Many of GM subsidiary OnStar’s in-vehicle communications systems run on analog technology. Those who own 2003-or-later GM vehicles with analog OnStar equipment – about 3.5 million of OnStar’s existing 4 million subscribers – will be able to upgrade to the new digital OnStar network for around $200, according to Owners of older OnStar-equipped vehicles, however are, as my Dad used to say, shit out of luck, as GM is not offering any upgrade options for those vehicles. That means the cool little OnStar button in my 2001 Tahoe will be deactivated and completely useless at the end of the year.

But there’s good news! GM is offering an additional year of OnStar service for free – “with the purchase or lease of a 2006 model year or newer OnStar-equipped new or certified used GM vehicle.” With the monthly plan I’m on now, that cool deal will save me $203.40 (minus the price of the new vehicle, of course)! Thanks, GM!

I’m sure GM made a basic business decision based on the cost of rewiring older models (if indeed that’s even possible). But they could certainly do a better job of taking care of loyal customers who, like me, expected a key feature of their car or truck to last longer than five years. Like a Rock.


5 thoughts on “Bye Bye, Analog OnStar”

  1. I, too, received their extravagant offer of a year of OnStar service — if I only purchased a new GM vehicle! That’s not going to happen. So after 12/31/07 I’ll have a fancy electronic mirror and an antenna on the back window that will become absolutely useless. Several contacts with GM all resulted in the same excuse: it’s not their fault, and there’s nothing they can do about it. You’d think that a manufacturer of a $30,000 plus vehicle would come up with some kind of fix to satisfy loyal GM customers!

  2. IF WE ALL STICK TOGETHER AND JOIN THE CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT THEY WILL COME UP WITH AN OPTION FOR US. Here is the address of the law firm that filed the class action suit in March 2007:

    For more information contact:
    Ronald Jay Smolow, Esq.
    Smolow & Landis
    Two Neshaminy Interplex
    Trevose PA 19053

    Please go to the website and enter your information to participate, we all deserve to be represented in this egregious fraud that Onstar and GM have created by selling us a critical feature that now we will not be able to use on our cars.

    We need to teach Onstar & GM a lesson here!

  3. I’m glad that there is a lawsuit!! Having been a GM buyer for 25+ years my 2002 $38K Avalanche with the “piece of mind” Onstar installed will be my last GM product to be in my garage! The 1 yr FREE subscription to Onstar if I buy a new GM was certainly Big of gm to it’s analog customers- NOT.
    To buy a new vehicle and then find out that part of its safety features are obsolete after 6 years is very disturbing, I wonder if the ABS brake system will be useless in 2009?
    Good bye gm.
    Hello TOYOTA

  4. I’m with you, Ric. For years I have argued with friends that GM is the best product, and have owned at least 6 of them. The 2001 Suburban I have now will be my last GM product, ever. Who needs ’em?

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