It doesn't work on cell towers. Otherwise explain the reason it would work in the middle of nowhere in a spot where you would not get any cellphone reception. GPS would also not work nearly as well if it was based off towers. The GPS is up to 5 inches accurate, cellphone GPS is 25-50 feet accurate. Part of the system does run from towers, but don't piggy bag off anyone else's.
GM is not the only one you can blame at this game, its costing all corporations money, marketing and additional time to switch people onto digital. Most people, such as my mom don't want to pay for something else so why should Bell not be liable but yet GM is? Why should satellite companies not be liable for selling to my grand-parents? Why aren't they giving everyone a free upgrade and why should GM?
No I am not an engineer, thank god I would go crazy in that environment. I prefer making business decisions rather than sitting there and not moving all the time.
Dude you are confused... I hope you aren't making business decisions about OnStar 'cause you don't know how it works.
You are confusing OnStar GPS and OnStar Communications...
The GPS system uses satellites to triangulate position... That part of Onstar still works on all 1996 to present systems... Since the GPS system is basically the same one that was built just before desert storm.
The part that is broken is the Communications part and that part always has worked over the cell network.
In about 1995 all of the Cell companies started to augment their cell towers from analog to digital. Digital had/has lots of advantages over analog, battery life, cost of gear, data transmission, etc etc... It had/has one big disadvantage... Range. As the number of digital cell towers increased the need for the range decreased and the FCC and the Cell companies began to make plans to retire analog... This started in 1996 and was made public in 1997. If you want I can post the link to the FCC meeting were the GM OnStar Divsion was present. They knew.
Analog transmitters and receivers can be powered up to reach places that digital has trouble. THAT'S why OnStar could get signals in parts that ordinary Cells can't...
The issue is that GM was the only Cell provider in 1998 who hadn't begun offering digital phones... By 1999 EVERY PHONE ON THE MARKET was "tri mode" and worked in digital AND analog. The only Cellphone "manufacture" who was selling analog phones was GM. I'm not blaming GM for the death of analog... I'm blaming GM for not noticing this obvious trend and I'm blaming GM for not installing digital cell recievers back in 1998/99... But GM could have fixed this... Simply offer upgrade packages for all of these cars... GM desided not to do that either... AT ANY COST...
Back to your mom example... There are lots of really nice phones that she could have got for <$100. Without a contract... Even if they are $400... Why hasn't GM offered an upgrade of all OBDII cars for $400?
BTW I worked in the Telecommunications Industry during most of the 90's... I can tell you that if OnStar used a "Satellite Phone" no one would be happy with it. "Satellite Phones" need a "open" sky to work. They don't work in parking garages, tunnels, or on city streets with tall "blocking" buildings.