Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Sep 17, 2021 8:56 am

Re: I had a 3G to 4G TCU upgrade to prove a point.

Fri Sep 17, 2021 10:09 am

So, I upgraded my i3 from 3G to a 4G telematics box myself this week.

Can you do it yourself? Yes, and no.

I used a used 4G box from a 2017 X3 (eBay, about $100). It plugged in in place of the 3G box under the rear seat. I thought it was worth trying a used box, since there's a significant cost savings. I just made sure the part number matched tezarc's part number

There is one extra antenna connection on the 4G box that my car didn't have a wire for. From my research it seems to be redundant and not needed on this car.

After installing the new box, when I turned the car on, it complained that the emergency call function was disabled.

I then used my Chinese knockoff ICOM Next box with a laptop with the presumably pirated ISTA software, and had ISTA do its thing - that consisted of updating basically every module on the car to the latest 2021 "i level", and coding any modules that didn't match (in this case the telematics box was automatically re-coded to match my car).

Was I successful? Well, it appears the box is working. I still receive notifications on my phone when charging starts and ends. What didn't work is that ISTA couldn't contact the ConnectedDrive Portal to register the new box, so I can't send commands from the app to the car. Apparently because my copy of ISTA isn't attached to a licensed dealership, it couldn't connect to that portal.

I had already coded my car so that the remote's panic alarm button now activates the climatize function, and climatize was the main thing I used the app for, so I've not done anything about it yet.

Could a BMW dealer service department do this with a new (or used) 4G box and make all the functions work properly? Absolutely, 100%.

I'm going to be charitable and say that the person at BMW who wrote the letter stating that there is no upgrade path from 3G to 4G for these cars was at least misinformed. The cynical part of me thinks that maybe BMW is on the hook to pay the wireless phone companies a tiny amount of money every time a packet of data gets sent to or from one of these cars, and they saw this as a way to slightly reduce their ongoing costs at the expense of customer goodwill.

Posts: 57
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2020 3:00 pm

Re: I had a 3G to 4G TCU upgrade to prove a point.

Sat Sep 18, 2021 3:16 pm

There is some discussions in news about this issue. The i3 is not the only device that will lose connectivity: ... n-old-tech

Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2021 4:10 pm

Re: I had a 3G to 4G TCU upgrade to prove a point.

Wed Oct 06, 2021 4:19 pm

I have a 2015 i3 rex in the USA, and have embarked on the journey to upgrade to 4g, as 3g disappears in Feb. So far, results are mixed. I was able to swap in a used TCB, and code it with eSys, and I can use it to call customer service or SOS, but tying the IMEI to the Vin in BMW's Connected Drive system seems to be impossible. The Connected Drive folks refuse to do it. I even tried contacting AT&T to see if they could help, but got nowhere. I will ask the dealership next week, but they are conservative, and I don't expect much.
So my question is whether anyone has succeeded in getting the remote services, such as remote lock, working with a retrofit 4g module?
The one interesting thing I noted is that when I made a roadside assistance call from the car, my mobile app was updated with the time and date. But that's it.

Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2021 8:13 pm

Re: I had a 3G to 4G TCU upgrade to prove a point.

Tue Oct 12, 2021 8:23 pm

I'm thinking about buying an i3 and one of the main features that I was exited about was remote monitoring and remote lock unlock as I'm going to be doing some carshare some of the time with the car.

I also have an F30 and we were actually given a 4G upgrade path (get this, my 2013 335i had a 2G module in it 🙄) but of course by the time I checked on it, the period where they would do the upgrade had already passed.

I'd like to re-ask the question: with an upgraded TCU to 4G, can you do all of the functions including remote unlocking that you could do before with the BMW app?

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