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Discussion Starter #1
The availability of an Onstar upgrade for 2004/2005 XLRs has been discussed in at least two threads. I thought I'd summarize here and append what I found out talking with Onstar yesterday.

First, the official program name is "Verizon Wireless with Onstar". More information can be found at the Verizon Wireless website than at the Onstar web site.

In my opinion the program is especially attractive if you can say "yes" to all four of the following:

- Currently use Onstar for telephone calls (not just the safety packages)
- Currently are a Verizon Wireless customer
- Are in the areas where Verizon Wireless with Onstar is available
- Willing to have the dealer upgrade their XLR

The 2004/2005 XLRs are "digital ready" which means that a new Onstar module can be plugged in, which will take the place of the current Onstar module. This is a dealer-install option.

Please also remember that all Onstar analog service will end in January 2008. An upgrade of the Onstar system (or the XLR, of course) is required to keep Onstar service in approximately 2 years.

The way Onstar is enticing their customers to do the upgrade is by quoting a price that is ever-so-slightly less than three years of their current plan. In exchange for paying for three years of the current plan the customer receives the hardware upgrade and three years of their current plan. What this also means is that escentially the hardware upgrade is free in exchange for a three-year re-up and the time spent going to the dealer.

The strange part is that the first step to performing upgrade is to pay the dealer for the upgrade. Somehow that information gets back to Onstar but I haven't figured out how that is done. I also don't have as much information as I would like about what is involved in the hardware upgrade.

Once the upgrade is performed, the owner calls back to Onstar (not Verizon) and then is transferred to a Verizon person who has been trained for this program. A new phone number will be assigned to the XLR phone (the old phone number is an analog number and does not get transferred when upgrading to digital). The XLR phone will then be considered a "family" phone and will end up on your Verizon account as an extra phone for approximately $10 per month. All family plan benefits and restrictions apply to the new XLR phone.

You can setup your Verizon cellphone to automatically forward to the XLR phone. Other owners have reported that the new digital XLR phones are much more user friendly and have much better voice recognition. I have not heard whether Caller ID is now available with the new XLR phones.

For me this makes a lot of sense and will save me money after about 2 years, givem how much I spend on Onstar calling right now. In my case this is one of the rare win-win situations for saving money.

Andy
 

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Andy, you got it right. That is how it works. They are offering this plan in the US on a controled roll out. This was first available in the Northeast (New York) this past fall. I believe it was the last part of the US to be rolled out. Regarding the 08 time frame that is indeed correct as the law is written, almost. The law states that after Jan 08 the carrier ( analog service providers-not Onstar) no longer are required to offer analorg service. And for financial reasons most likely won't much beyond but they can. There is talk that date might be extended so it might go on beyond that date. The date is Jan 08 but may go beyond. The program upgrade is a fair offer.
 

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I assume this ends the problem of expiring minutes, correct? I currently have over two hundred and seventy Onstar minutes set to expire in mid-December. Onstar refuses to extend the expiration of my minutes.
 

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I talked to OnStar yesterday myself and asked them if the new upgrade system would have some kind of KEY pad "touch pad in NAV. display would be nice" so I could use it to get massages from my answer machine at my home or office. You have to give the machine a code number before it will get you your massages.

They said NO. They said that kind of system would have to be an all new system. Built into the car from the ground up.

I asked why it could not be reprogram where if you told it to "dial while on the call" and gave it the three numbers you needed that the system could just out put those tones. They said it could not be done.... I think not. I think they just don't want to try.

I guess by 2010 they might think to add this in but by that time an answering machine will be a thing of the past...

GM has built a great car here but is using way out dated electronic in this part of the car. When they came out with this car in 2004 analog phones was dead then by three years....

motorboat.vz :banghead
 

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motorboat said:
I talked to OnStar yesterday myself and asked them if the new upgrade system would have some kind of KEY pad "touch pad in NAV. display would be nice" so I could use it to get massages from my answer machine at my home or office. You have to give the machine a code number before it will get you your massages.

They said NO. They said that kind of system would have to be an all new system. Built into the car from the ground up.

I asked why it could not be reprogram where if you told it to "dial while on the call" and gave it the three numbers you needed that the system could just out put those tones. They said it could not be done.... I think not. I think they just don't want to try.

I guess by 2010 they might think to add this in but by that time an answering machine will be a thing of the past...

GM has built a great car here but is using way out dated electronic in this part of the car. When they came out with this car in 2004 analog phones was dead then by three years....

motorboat.vz :banghead
The Onstar system already has this capability. While on the call, press the call button on the steering wheel and say "dial 1 2 3 4 dial and the system will send the dtmf tones 1234 to the system on the other end.

Bill
 

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XLRcited,

I thought I had tried that before but will try it again.
If it does work I wonder why OnStar did not tell me to try it? If it does work should I call them an tell them it does? This is the second time I have asked them about this. The last time they said the analog system could not do this.


Thanks,
Blaise
 

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Discussion Starter #7
jp299390 said:
I assume this ends the problem of expiring minutes, correct? I currently have over two hundred and seventy Onstar minutes set to expire in mid-December. Onstar refuses to extend the expiration of my minutes.
Yes it does. Your minutes come from your Verizon account like any other cellphone on the family plan. Of course if you go over your monthly allotment the overage charges are fairly steep with Verizon.

I'm looking forward to being able to talk to the other phones on the account with no charges (because they are "in family") with the new setup. I wonder what "Units" "Verify" voice command does with the Verizon plan?

Andy
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
motorboat said:
I talked to OnStar yesterday myself and asked them if the new upgrade system would have some kind of KEY pad "touch pad in NAV. display would be nice" so I could use it to get massages from my answer machine at my home or office. You have to give the machine a code number before it will get you your massages.

....
Believe it or not, the integration/engineering for what you are asking is fairly complex. The LCD touchscreen software would have to be modified to include the keyboard display and responses. The telephone control module would have to be modified to send/receive the LCD responses and act appropriately. All of the manuals would have to be modified (don't laugh - correct documentation is a major expense). I think I would also want GM to verify that they hadn't broken anything else when they made the phone mod. It is much cheaper to do this when starting new.

Having said that, my '89 Olds Trofeo (with CRT touchscreen) had that capability. By hitting a couple of touchscreen buttons, a telephone keypad would pop-up on the display even when talking. You could then hit the softkeys to enter in a code - used to use that for accessing phonemail.

Of course it only worked about 90% of the time. Sometimes to get the system to work, I had to disconnect the car battery for about 2 minutes until the phone and CRT both reset and would start talking with each other again.

The funny part of that system was the "theft alarm". When set, the CRT would ask for your four digit code when the car was started. If you didn't enter the code, the car would call the phone number in memory and play an alert tone. I always figured the phone call would arrive just in time to see the car driving into the distance. :jester It needed some improvement!

Andy
 

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jp299390 said:
I assume this ends the problem of expiring minutes, correct? I currently have over two hundred and seventy Onstar minutes set to expire in mid-December. Onstar refuses to extend the expiration of my minutes.
I talked to Onstar because of the same problem of expiring minutes on my Escalade. They will not extend the expiration, but if you purchase a minimum of new minutes (usually 30 minutes for $16) all the minutes will roll over for another year (so you don't lose them).
 

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Well you can use you car phone to get your massages off your answering machines.
I tried it again yesterday. The first time I called the office it rang I hit the "white" button on the mirror thinking I had to use that to be able to make the phone ask me for the number "code" I needed to get the answer machine to play my massages but it cut off the phone call. So the next time I called I hit the button on the left side of the steering wheel that has the "face" on it. I was then able to give it the "code" number and tell it to dial.
Low and behold it worked just fine.

I had called OnStar five or six times in the 2 years I have owned this car asking how to do this or if they had some kind of upgrade so I could. Each time they told me NO the system could not do this. I had just called them last week when I heard about the new digital upgrade and again they told me it would NOT do it.

WELL it does!!!

I thought I would be nice and call them after I tested two more time to tell them that it would so they could tell other people about it.
Would you believe that the guy that answered my call knew all about it but he told me only a few others knew it.
So I told him I would post it on the XLR forum and maybe he might want to tell the others about it.
I asked him if I upgraded to the new system would it still work and he said that it would and it would be easier because you can just tell the system the number instead of telling it digit by digit.
Now I will call and ask about the price of the hardware. They gave me a $560.00 price for three years of phone service "basic service" but I would have to call my shop to see how much the car upgrade would be.

Life is getting better.....:party :party

motorboat.vz
 

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Discussion Starter #12
motorboat said:
Now I will call and ask about the price of the hardware. They gave me a $560.00 price for three years of phone service "basic service" but I would have to call my shop to see how much the car upgrade would be.

Life is getting better.....:party :party

motorboat.vz

They hardware should be the equivalent of "thrown in" with a three year renewal of your OnStar service. It really will be the only way to keep you as a customer towards the end of the three year committment since the analog will/may stop working.

Andy
 

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Not available

Had my car in for the last week for rotor replacement (the brake squeal issue) and asked them about the digital upgrade for OnStar. I have a 2004 XLR and they said they checked and the upgrade unit is not yet available for the XLR (or the Corvette). They are going to call me when its in.

Has anyone actually gotten the upgrade done for the 2004? Or, have people with digital altready just converted to the Verizon plan?

You never know these days whether the dealer is telling you the correct scoop.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Eyedoc said:
Had my car in for the last week for rotor replacement (the brake squeal issue) and asked them about the digital upgrade for OnStar. I have a 2004 XLR and they said they checked and the upgrade unit is not yet available for the XLR (or the Corvette). They are going to call me when its in.

Has anyone actually gotten the upgrade done for the 2004? Or, have people with digital altready just converted to the Verizon plan?

You never know these days whether the dealer is telling you the correct scoop.
My dealer told me it is about a 6 week delivery after payment. I didn't hear anything about a backorder.

Do you have more details on the rotor replacement? I had that done a year and a half ago and the squeal has recently returned. The dealer is waiting on Cadillac engineering for new instructions. Was the rotor replacement a repeat or a new procedure?

Andy
 

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First time

The rotor replacement was the first attempt (after a year of complaining on my part).

They did a few other things besides the replacement (deglazed something, etc). I'll have to get the work order and check.

On the ONStar, they said plat out that it was not available yet on the 2004 XLR or the Corvette. They said they'd call me when it is.

I may call OnStar directly or Verizon, see if they give the same story.
 

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Latest

Here is the latest on this story.

The Onstar and/or Verizon folks (they have a special desk for Onstar upgrades) seem to know much more than the Cadillac dealer folks.

I had the car in for other repairs and asked about the Onstar upgrade. The service people said it wasn't available yet, for my model XLR.

I called Onstar, who transferred me to Verizon, who transferred me to a special desk and they explained the situation.

I called the Part Dept and asked to order the new module. They reserached and said I would have to go to the Service desk and order, since it requires a new contract (3 year for $549 - minimum service). I told him the Service folks said they didn't know.

Next went to Serviec Manager, he was aware and faxced me the contract/new order form, which I faxed back last week.

I'll let you know when it comes in and how the upgrade works.

I need Onstar cell since a new country house does not have regular cell phone coverage fopr about 7-8 miles around.
 

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Eyedoc said:
Here is the latest on this story.

I need Onstar cell since a new country house does not have regular cell phone coverage fopr about 7-8 miles around.
But Onstar cell service uses the Verizon cell phone network. If a regular Verizon cell phone doesn't work at your country house, than the Onstar cell service will not work either.
 

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I actually checked the current analog Onstar on my XLR and it works at the country house.

I assumed the "power" of the cell being attached to the car or some other factor was at work.

In any case, the handheld cell does not work and the Onstar does.
 

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Eyedoc,
I'm not sure this will be useful and I am certainly not a wireless communication expert. However, I believe that you will find that the reason the analog onstar phone works at the country house is that analog cellular phones usually have approximately a 10 mile range. Digital wireless phones, however, only have approximately a 5 mile range. Therefore if there is a wireless/cellular tower 7 miles from the country house the analog phone will work and the digital will not. To my knowledge, many towers have both analog and digital antennas right now. You may want to consider holding off on changing to verizon digital until you confirm that the digital (upgrade?) will work where you want it to.

Good Luck,
Tom
 

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Hmmm

You have a good point. I'll have to see how I can figure it out. ON the other hand, tha advantage of being able to use Family Plan minutes with digital probably outweighs the function out in the country.
 
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