As soon as the 3G network went down, some crucial systems stopped working.
As you might know, America's 3G cellular networks shut down in February this year. This immediately led to several critical systems, such as EV charging networks, becoming obsolete.
In an attempt to find out what implications there would be for the automotive industry, we reached out for comment. It seemed the industry was well-prepared, but now Porsche and BMW are facing a possible class-action lawsuit as a result of the shutdown.
An unnamed plaintiff filed a proposed class action lawsuit against the two German brands for contravening the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act. In short, they failed to disclose that their connected feature like Porsche Connect and Connected Drive/BMW Assist were "destined for obsolescence."
The main issue here is that manufacturers knew 4G and 5G was going to take over. But the jump from 3G to 4G was massive, driven almost entirely by the smartphone industry. Accessing the 4G network requires both a new sim and hardware upgrades, which obviously cost manufacturers a vast amount of money.
The 28-page lawsuit alleges that Porsche's representations about the Porsche Connect feature found in 2014-2019 vehicle models were "false and misleading." Allegedly, Porsche also failed to say that telematics systems in its cars would be affected until 2022.
BMW is accused of not informing customers that the telematics systems used by Connected Drive and BMW Assist would no longer work until April 2021.
Per our earlier report, some manufacturers had a solution in place, but millions of cars automatically lost the ability to call first responders in the event of a crash. This standard safety feature is often used in marketing materials or on dealership floors as a selling tool.
The lawsuit alleges that neither BMW nor Porsche failed to mention that the respective features in their vehicles would only be available for a limited time. The plaintiff expected these features to be available for the vehicle's lifetime and that both manufacturers would offer downloadable software or physical parts to keep the 3G-connected features up and running after the network was shut down.
Why are only BMW and Porsche being targeted, since it's an industry-wide problem? The plaintiff owns a 2018 Porsche Panamera 4S and a 2014 BMW xDrive coupe. The latter car isn't explicitly named, so it could be a 4 Series, X4, X6, or 6 Series coupe from that era.
The BMW case is looking for all persons who purchased or leased a 2013 to current BMW with Connected Drive and BMW Assist systems affected by the 3G shutdown. The Porsche case is seeking the same for 2017 to 2019 911s, 2015 to 2019 Cayennes, 2017 to 2018 Macans, 2017 to 2021 718s, and 2014-2018 Panameras. The famous 918 Spider is also included.
That's roughly 14 million BMWs and 300,000 Porsches. The case has yet to hit the courts, but we'll keep you posted.