XM radio and OnStar questions - Chevy Traverse Forum: Chevrolet Traverse Forum
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post #1 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-13-2009, 12:46 AM Thread Starter
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XM radio and OnStar questions

Hello all -

I'm a newbie who's seriously considering getting a Traverse within the next 3-4 weeks, which would be my first GM vehicle ever (and I'm over 50 years old). Anyway, I'm going to have mucho questions for this great collective wisdom that I've been reading here for a few days, but I'll start with a couple ridiculously easy ones first that show my ignorance (and I hope this is the right section to post this):

1. I know XM radio is standard. But does that mean that once I take delivery that I have to pay the monthly subscription fee, as I obviously would if I purchased XM on my own? Or does GM have some arrangement, like the rental car companies, where it's "free" (i.e. built into their cost of doing business) for me?

2. I also know you can use On Star somehow with your own cell phone. Also On Star can call for help, etc. Question: Say I forget my cellphone at home. Can I still use OnStar for personal calls, just like a regular cellphone? (I imagine I'd have to sign up somehow to register my own phone number and it'd use my minutes, or something like that.)


OK, now that you've almost stopped laughing at me, I'll be happy for any straight answers I can get.

Thanks!

'09 Stormy Blue Mazda CX-9 (just missed getting a Traverse by that much)<br />'03 black Camry<br />[s]'99 white Hyundai Sonata[/s]<br />03 kids, 00 dogs
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post #2 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-13-2009, 07:31 AM
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Re: XM radio and OnStar questions

Yes, you will have to pay for XM, once your free trial runs out. My free trial was 3 months. After that, you deal with XM directly.

[EDIT: OnStar uses Verizon Wireless, not satellite, for communications.]

As I understand it, OnStar and your cell phone are totally separate [unless you have Verizon for your cell phone and opt to link the accounts together]. You can use OnStar to make satellite phone calls, as long as you prebuy minutes from OnStar [though you can apparently opt to share your Verizon cell minutes with OnStar]. I think mine came with 30 OnStar phone minutes that expired in 2 or 3 months, but we never used them. The rest of OnStar (directions, etc.) was paid for 1 year for us with the car purchase. After that, you deal with OnStar to pay for the features you would like to continue, if any.

We just use our cell phones and handsfree bluetooth in the car. Just pair the cellphone and the car one time, and then from that point when you bring the phone into the car, they automatically make the connection. IIRC, the car can deal with 5 different cell phones this way. Then when the phone gets a call, the car quiets down (mutes the radio, turns down the heater blower) and announces the call, and then you can answer or ignore the call via the buttons on the steering wheel. You hear the call over the car's speakers, and can speak normally to talk. When the call is done, the radio and blower come back on.

OnStar phone is probably a good option if you travel where cell service isn't available. I could also see it being a good option for people that work out of their cars, assuming calls won't drop out as much as cell calls do (which I'm not sure about, since we haven't tried it). That depends on the service price too of course.

09 Silver Moss FWD 2LT w/leather, sunroof, trailering, & 8-passenger seating
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post #3 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-13-2009, 10:35 AM
tim
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Re: XM radio and OnStar questions

OnStar uses the Verizon Wireless network. It does not use satellite communications. OnStar will only work when you have phone coverage from Verizon Wireless. If you are already a Verizon Wireless customer, you can add your car's phone number to your Verizon Wireless account for only $10 per month.

2008 Saturn Outlook XR FWD
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post #4 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-13-2009, 12:04 PM
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Re: XM radio and OnStar questions

You know what frustrates me?

I have 1 car that has Sirius and I pay 12.95 a month for that car and it includes Howard Stern. If I add a second Sirius radio to my plan its 6.99.

When I called XM they told me that they are "still operating as two separate companies" and if I want the XM with Howard Stern in the Traverse I have to pay a second 12.95 + 4 dollars for the best of Sirius.

WTF?

09' Traverse LT1 FWD - Moss Green<br />10' Cadillac SRX - Flannel Gray<br />08' Harley Davidson Nightster - Olive Green/Denim Black
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post #5 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-13-2009, 01:45 PM
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Re: XM radio and OnStar questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by tim
OnStar uses the Verizon Wireless network. It does not use satellite communications. OnStar will only work when you have phone coverage from Verizon Wireless. If you are already a Verizon Wireless customer, you can add your car's phone number to your Verizon Wireless account for only $10 per month.
Good to know. Now I'm trying to remember if it was explained to me that way (satellite), or if I just assumed.

09 Silver Moss FWD 2LT w/leather, sunroof, trailering, & 8-passenger seating
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post #6 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-13-2009, 01:51 PM
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Re: XM radio and OnStar questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by intotheoh
You know what frustrates me?

I have 1 car that has Sirius and I pay 12.95 a month for that car and it includes Howard Stern. If I add a second Sirius radio to my plan its 6.99.

When I called XM they told me that they are "still operating as two separate companies" and if I want the XM with Howard Stern in the Traverse I have to pay a second 12.95 + 4 dollars for the best of Sirius.

WTF?

I'm in the same boat, with Sirius in my other car and wanting to keep XM in this one after the trial ends. I emailed Sirius about a week ago to ask about pricing XM as a second account, but still haven't heard anything. I doubt I'd pay full price for both...would have to choose which one to keep.

09 Silver Moss FWD 2LT w/leather, sunroof, trailering, & 8-passenger seating
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post #7 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-13-2009, 02:01 PM
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Re: XM radio and OnStar questions

One consolation was that when I called Sirius they offered me a free radio for the Traverse, but why would I want a wonky 3rd party unit?

09' Traverse LT1 FWD - Moss Green<br />10' Cadillac SRX - Flannel Gray<br />08' Harley Davidson Nightster - Olive Green/Denim Black
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post #8 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-14-2009, 09:13 PM
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Re: XM radio and On Star questions

Ok, this is from experience.
First XM/Sirius radio renewal. You can get it for $77 a year. Just call XM about the time your three months trial is ready to expire at 1-877-228-9058 or 1-877-228-9058 and tell them you want the $77 one year special. If they say they cant do that just tell them you are going to let it expire. You will get the special rate. ( I have just renewed mine at that rate for the second year.) Be persistent, you might have to talk to two or three people. (in India I think)

OnStar and the hands free phone are totally separate; you do not use phone Min's when you call OnStar and making a call on the hands free phone does not connect you with OnStar. You cannot make a personal call on OnStar. If you purchase the Verizon plan in connection with On Star your calls go thru the Verizon towers. If you are in an area where you cannot connect with a Verizon tower your call goes thru OnStar which is satellite linked and you will be charged a roaming charge plus .69 per min. on your Verizon bill.

Hands free calling Min's are very expensive and are only good for one year (so they say). When we purchased our 08 Enclave you could purchase 100 hands free phone Min's at a special rate; ( I think $14.99) that is no longer available to my knowledge but like XM you can wheel and deal with OnStar. Just remember they know once they loose you as a customer odds are your not coming back; they want your business. I just renewed my OnStar for $148 a year and they roll over the unused hands free Min's remaining; no problem in fact they even added some.

Just remember be persistent; times are tough and they know it; OnStar and XM are not what you might call necessities.

Good luck to you Traverse owners it's a nice looking vehicle; looks just about like the Enclave from the side and much better in general than the Acadia or Outlook IMHO.

2008 Buick Enclave CXL FWD WDT with titanium interior: lux pkg, con pkg, nav w/back up camera, sun roofs, 19 inch chrome wheels, second row bench
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post #9 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-14-2009, 10:46 PM
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Re: XM radio and OnStar questions

The 14.99 "re-up" for onstar minutes still exist. When I called to activate they offered it to me. I said no, so they offered it to me for 10.99

09' Traverse LT1 FWD - Moss Green<br />10' Cadillac SRX - Flannel Gray<br />08' Harley Davidson Nightster - Olive Green/Denim Black
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post #10 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-15-2009, 10:53 AM Thread Starter
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Re: XM radio and OnStar questions

Thanks to all who chimed in, especially clbhk and 43sbest. I'm sure I could have found that info on my own with some digging, but you all showed me what I like best about these boards -- the REAL WORLD experience about pricing and usage.

Thanks again, amigos!

'09 Stormy Blue Mazda CX-9 (just missed getting a Traverse by that much)<br />'03 black Camry<br />[s]'99 white Hyundai Sonata[/s]<br />03 kids, 00 dogs
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