Information on OnStar handsfree (cellular) calling hardware?

esjones

Buick Newbie
3
0
1
Buick Ownership
Buick Verano
I have a 2013 Verano with active OnStar subscription. I believe my handsfree calling is using the Verizon network. My question is, does anyone know the hardware specs of the calling system? Specifically, the power output? In the early days of analog mobile phones, car systems were much better than handhelds, because they put out 3 watts of power, if I recall correctly.

We're starting out on a road trip through a lot of rural America, and I was thinking (hoping) that the built-in system in the Verano would be more reliable and accessible in remote areas compared to my smartphone. Thoughts and experience?

Thanks.

ESJ
 

MelsRegal

Full Member
6,226
1,002
113
Buick Ownership
Regal GS 2017
I understand your statement that you have an active OnStar subscription but do you mean you have purchased OnStar minutes or that your cellphone is paired to the car using Bluetooth?
 

mitchflorida

Active Member
427
120
43
South Florida
Buick Ownership
2016 Summit White Regal, Premium II, Moonroof, Driver Confidence Package
Pairing your cellphone with Bluetooth has nothing to do with having an OnStar subscription. He is asking if his call reception would be better using the OnStar antenna than on his own phone.

OnStar now uses the AT&T network, but I am sure it has roaming in remote areas.

My guess is that the OnStar antenna would be more sensitive than your cellphone's inside of your car. But unless you are really in the middle of nowhere both would work fine.

According to GM Authority sources, General Motors plans to sunset the OnStar Hands-Free Calling service in 2022. At that point, all vehicles on the road still equipped with the feature will no longer have the ability to make calls using the OnStar Hands-Free Calling system.
 
Last edited:

esjones

Buick Newbie
3
0
1
Buick Ownership
Buick Verano
I understand your statement that you have an active OnStar subscription but do you mean you have purchased OnStar minutes or that your cellphone is paired to the car using Bluetooth?
Yes, I have a metric ton of minutes. The smartphone is also paired via Bluetooth, but call performance is of course limited by the coverage of the smartphone. My question is.... does the built-in OnStar handsfree unit have longer range than a typical smartphone. I understand if you are near a cell site it doesn't matter, but carrier coverage varies, and signals get weaker in rural areas. Roaming doesn't matter if you don't have the transmit power to reach a far-off cell tower.
______________________________
 
Last edited:

esjones

Buick Newbie
3
0
1
Buick Ownership
Buick Verano
Pairing your cellphone with Bluetooth has nothing to do with having an OnStar subscription. He is asking if his call reception would be better using the OnStar antenna than on his own phone.

OnStar now uses the AT&T network, but I am sure it has roaming in remote areas.

My guess is that the OnStar antenna would be more sensitive than your cellphone's inside of your car. But unless you are really in the middle of nowhere both would work fine.
A call is both received signal and transmitted signal. The sensitivity of one antenna over another is a factor, for sure, but not my question. Cellphones have very weak transmitters, for battery life but also because you hold them up against your head. Car mounted units have no such restrictions, so are allowed to transmit at higher power. My question, simply, is does anyone KNOW the power output of the handsfree calling unit?
 

mitchflorida

Active Member
427
120
43
South Florida
Buick Ownership
2016 Summit White Regal, Premium II, Moonroof, Driver Confidence Package
A call is both received signal and transmitted signal. The sensitivity of one antenna over another is a factor, for sure, but not my question. Cellphones have very weak transmitters, for battery life but also because you hold them up against your head. Car mounted units have no such restrictions, so are allowed to transmit at higher power. My question, simply, is does anyone KNOW the power output of the handsfree calling unit?
I believe it is 3.25 watts. As I wrote above, handsfree is being completely eliminated next year. Very few people use it with the advent of Bluetooth and smartphones. Kind of like the old payphones you used to see.
 
Last edited:

MelsRegal

Full Member
6,226
1,002
113
Buick Ownership
Regal GS 2017
If you are using your OnStar minutes the car antenna will in rural areas have a better chance of a connection.
Using your bluetooth connected phone does not use the car antenna.
 
Get your turbo buick badge right here!
Top