Should you LTE/4G upgrade an older Tesla?
The older Model S vehicles were only delivered with a radio module for 2G/Edge and 3G Internet traffic. The Tesla LTE/4G upgrade allows these vehicles to be upgraded to the faster 4G technology.
From around May 2015, an LTE/4G module was installed in new Tesla vehicles.
Vehicles starting from about VIN number 81000 upwards should already have the LTE module installed.
According to the current status, Tesla is offering the LTE module for retrofitting for approximately 500 EUR/USD including labor costs. In a retrofitted vehicle, data connections can be established via Edge, 3G and LTE/4G. This means that even with an upgraded LTE module, the vehicle can still connect to 3G or Edge if the LTE/4G network is not available.
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The following reasons speak for retrofitting the LTE module:
- 3G will be gradually phased out by telecom companies in the near future to free up the frequencies for new transmission standards. In Germany, this is already planned for the end of 2020 and in UK there are similar plans, too.
- For areas with high LTE/4G coverage, the upgrade makes sense because the connection latency is much better with LTE. According to several posts in Internet forums, there are much fewer dropouts with LTE in Spotify and the Google Maps map builds up much faster.
If you are planning to own an older Model S vehicle without LTE for a longer period of time, you may be well advised to invest in the Tesla LTE upgrade. The prerequisite for this is of course the existing network coverage. If you travel a lot to places without LTE network, you can unfortunately not benefit from it and do not need the update. Check out this European Map for coverage.
Anyone interested in the technical details can look up the necessary upgrade components in the parts catalog:
- 1 – PCB ASSEMBLY, LTE CONNECTIVITY, UBLOX GPS (1054968-01-A)
- 1 – SIM CARD, JASPER (1035347-00-A)
- 3 – SCREW, M3x4. (1010052-00-A)
- 12 – SCREW, M5X6. (1010058-00-A)
- 3 – CABLE, (1010854-00-A)
- 3 – SCREW, M3x6. (1010062-00-A)
- 3 – SPACER, M3X6.M/F.HEXAGON.W/PATCH (1010816-00-A)
At 1.6 hours, the workload for the upgrade is relatively high and thus probably also the price accordingly.
My USB Flash Drive recommendations for Sentry Mode and Dashcam: