The study, which was carried out by Sweden-based communications and technology firm Drive Studio and Ericsson, involved roughly 7,500 people from several countries, including the United States, Brazil, Mexico, and China.
The study found that about three in four respondents who felt it was likely they would buy a car in the next 36 months felt a desire to own a vehicle with a wireless Internet connection. In fact, among the American drivers surveyed, a Wi-Fi hotspot was the most desirable feature in a new car.
Such a connection would allow drivers and their passengers to stream music, use various navigation features, and receive live traffic information.
Chris Penrose, senior vice president of the Internet of Things for AT&T Mobility, says his company – a world leader in mobile Wi-Fi hot spot technology – feels there are growing opportunities in this area. “We’re very bullish on this space,” said Penrose. “We see a lot of opportunities.”
Leading the way alongside AT&T is General Motors, which partnered with AT&T two years ago and, in the time since, has shipped about 1 million 4G LTE-connected vehicles in the United States and Canada. But AT&T has also established growing partnerships with many other automakers, including Jaguar Land Rover and Audi.
Overall, the Wi-Fi hot spot represents a huge amount of profit potential for automakers like GM and Audi. In fact, earlier this year General Motors said it expects profits in this area to be worth approximately $350 million by 2018.