Barvelh
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Jan 02, 2022 5:55 pm

i3 with 3G in North America

Good day all,

5 days ago my BMW app stopped getting updates from the vehicle.
Today after trying to diagnose the issue on my own. I was informed by iConnect services, that my 2015 was not eligible to update to 4G. There was no path way through BMW to update the receiver to the current communications.

I just acquired the i3 in December, the dealership neglected to inform me of this. But is guess they will say this is part of the AS-IS purchase process. So at this time I am taking a few things in consideration.

IF you have any alternatives or have any helpful recommendations. I look forward to receiving them.

Barvel
billd
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Mar 14, 2022 11:14 am

Re: i3 with 3G in North America

My 2014 i3 also lost 3G connectivity a week ago. I was on a cruise, got back after a week, and found network access was gone.
My solution was to replace the headunit with a new ID6 headunit with Carplay. The supplier checked my car was compatible using the VIN (you at least need the wide screen display). They then code the new headunit and ship - about 4 days from Hungary to the US. Installation took about one hour - and it was working right away. Cost $1050. Installation is straightforward however you need to be a bit confident about plugging things in and out.
Look for "PremiumRetrofit- worldwide group" on Facebook.
There is a group in Orlando that offers a similar service although for whatever reason it's quite a bit more expensive. Bimmer-Tech.
There is also a somewhat more kludgy workaround which is an MMI retrofit although cheaper it's a less integrated solution.
Barvelh
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Jan 02, 2022 5:55 pm

Re: i3 with 3G in North America

@billid

Are you in North America?

I was looking at the Bimmer replacement. But I just paid for 1 year of Sirrus XM i would have to buy another receiver for.
I liked the Install as it was all under the rear passengers seat for the EVO install.

I am going to look at Premium Retrofit and see if that matches the North America spec providers.

Thank you for the tips and I'll doo a deeper dive and see who else has had any luck.

Barvel
appie
Posts: 26
Joined: Sat Jan 22, 2022 5:49 am
Location: NL, Europe

Re: i3 with 3G in North America

Hmmm so how does exchanging the headunit help with the disfunctional 3G connectivity? Does it provide its own interface (4G/WiFi/...) and does it let you then do all the things you'd be able to do over the 3G connectivity, e.g. setting the preconditioning? Or is all the headunit provides the streaming/carplay functionality, because I presume that would not have been over 3G in the first place, right?
Barvelh
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Jan 02, 2022 5:55 pm

Re: i3 with 3G in North America

@appie

Hello,

You are correct. All this will do is give my 2015 Apple Carplay. That’s it. No way, so far to reconnect to the (MATRIX) iConnect services.

I have seen a few others researching, if adding a 4G hot spot will reconnect. But there’s not been any good luck doing so thus far.

It seems that 3G is part of the main ECU, there was no upgrade path planned for the later model units from BMW.

I use the scheduled preconditioning daily and have found that it helps in extending the range on cooler days. And during the winter a much more pleasant drive to work.

My daughter would seldomly take the car for quick strips to the local store. And knowing that it was in the Target parking lot was helpful. (Making her pick up items as a penance, was often gratifying.)

The streaming of the CarPlay was the only item missing to make the 2015 more competitive to the newer models. The older IConnect interface was challenging to use the voice prompts. Using Siri or Alexa is an improvement. Replacing the head unit with CarPlay will not compensate for not having the preconditioning. Nor will it replace the Messaging system that was useful for relaying data to drivers in my family.

But to have a better navigation system will have to due for now.

Thanks for your thoughts.
eNate
Posts: 923
Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2019 5:33 pm

Re: i3 with 3G in North America

Barvelh wrote: Wed Mar 16, 2022 12:28 pm ...It seems that 3G is part of the main ECU, there was no upgrade path planned for the later model units from BMW.
...
The 3G telematics unit is its own easily accessible, easily replaceable box. That's what makes this all the more frustrating – others have managed to perform this swap and achieved partial communications success with the help of BMW, only to be later cut off by BMW, probably because their VIN appeared on the 3G list.
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alohart
Posts: 2563
Joined: Sat Nov 01, 2014 7:36 pm
Location: Honolulu, HI

Re: i3 with 3G in North America

For those of us in the U.S. with a useless 3G telematics module, what's the best way to disconnect it? No need to keep it in the list of vampire 12 V loads. For those of us who don't drive much, reducing the vampire loads would keep the 12 V battery at a higher average charge level.

The easiest way would be to remove its fuse. However, if there any other loads on that fuse, they would be disabled as well which probably would not be desirable.

The telematics module could be removed. Think of how much lighter an i3 would be :D However, that might result in a diagnostic trouble code (DTC) being set which might result in a warning message being displayed.
Aloha,
Art
[Bought 25 April 2022] 2019 BMW i3 Imperial Blue Metallic, Giga World, Tech + Driving Assist, Heat Pump, 428 Wheels
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frictioncircle
Posts: 311
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 11:23 pm
Location: USA West Coast

Re: i3 with 3G in North America

Years back BMW offered 3G upgrade options to owners running soon-to-be-sunset 2G comboxes.

BMW should have done the same for their clients now stranded by the 3G->4G transition – especially for those that, nearly ten years ago, took a leap into those futuristic i cars.

As another member here was successfully able to upgrade their 3G combox to 4G that shows that this is a technically-possible upgrade.

I'm surprised no class-action litigation has come up.
frictioncircle
Posts: 311
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 11:23 pm
Location: USA West Coast

Re: i3 with 3G in North America

eNate wrote: Wed Mar 16, 2022 3:42 pm The 3G telematics unit is its own easily accessible, easily replaceable box. That's what makes this all the more frustrating – others have managed to perform this swap and achieved partial communications success with the help of BMW, only to be later cut off by BMW, probably because their VIN appeared on the 3G list.

Wow, BMWNA is doing that?!?

In this thread started by tezarc you can read about their personal quest to upgrade the combox to 4G:

viewtopic.php?f=10&t=17401

eNate, are you saying that BMWNA has subsequently bricked their new 4G combox? If so, that is positively despicable.
eNate
Posts: 923
Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2019 5:33 pm

Re: i3 with 3G in North America

That's the thread! And that is what appears to have happened, based on tezarc's telling of it.

viewtopic.php?f=10&t=17401&start=70
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