XM radio and OnStar questions

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DuayneD:
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!

clbhk:
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.

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.

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?

clbhk:
Quote from: tim on January 13, 2009, 10:35:38 AM

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.

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