Tesla Premium Connectivity: Understand It Like Never Before (Guide)

By Muhammad Hassan •  Updated: 02/10/22 •  11 min read

Tesla! A luxurious electric car with a sleek, top-notch design.

But what makes Tesla so popular is its constantly upgrading features to improve its functionality and reliability. 

Stream Netflix on your Tesla when parked. Credit to Tesla.

From Autopilot to Sentry Mode and even Dog Mode, exciting feature updates have always been a hot topic within the Tesla community. One such feature is the Tesla Premium Connectivity.

I scrutinized the web deeply to understand the overall perspective of Tesla owners about this feature. 

There’s a mixed debate on whether it is worth spending $9.99/month for Tesla’s Premium Connectivity feature or not.

Let’s have an insightful look at Tesla Premium Connectivity to understand what this feature actually offers and break it down if it is actually worth your consideration! 

So without any further ado, let’s delve into it.

What Is Tesla Premium Connectivity?

All Tesla vehicles come equipped with a Standard Connectivity package that lets you use the majority of the connectivity features for free while connected to Wi-Fi or a mobile hotspot.

The Premium Connectivity package, though, allows you to enjoy all the connectivity functions via your car’s cellular network, as well as a few additional features (discussed in the next section) exclusively available to premium buyers.

Standard vs. Premium Connectivity: The Differentiating Factor

Let’s understand it with the help of the following table:

FeatureStandard(Wi-Fi Only)Premium(Wi-Fi, LTE)
Navigation
Live Traffic Visualization
Satellite-View Maps
Music Streaming
Video Streaming
Karaoke
Internet Browsing
Sentry Mode

As stated previously, you can enjoy most of the connectivity features for free with your Standard Connectivity package over a solid Wi-Fi connection.

Premium Package Additional Features

Additional features in the Premium Connectivity package include:

Live Traffic Visualization

It helps you cruise through the light traffic areas and save your time.

Satellite-View Maps

These provide you with a satellite imagery display on the screen in addition to the terrain view of your route. 

Sentry Mode Live

It allows you to view your Tesla car remotely on your Tesla mobile app. It also enables you to watch the recording on your phone if any unfortunate incident happens to your car.

Karaoke and Video Streaming

Some Tesla cars are less likely to have these features depending on their hardware configuration, hence are included in Premium Connectivity.

Important to note: Music and video streaming platforms like Spotify, Netflix, Twitch, YouTube, etc., may require an additional subscription fee.

Availability & Price

Region

Tesla Premium Connectivity is available in the following regions per the Tesla website:

Asia PacificChina Mainland, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, and South Korea
EuropeAustria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Spain, France, Finland, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Sweden, Ireland, Italy, Iceland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, and Portugal
North AmericaCanada and the United States

Model

Tesla models that are eligible for the Premium Connectivity package are mentioned below:


Model

Ordered on or beforeJune 30, 2018

Ordered on or afterJuly 01, 2018
Model 3 SRModel 3 SR+Model 3 RWD

Model 3 (Premium Interior)Free 

How Much Does Tesla Premium Connectivity Cost?

Per Tesla’s website, you can buy the Premium Connectivity package for $9.99/month with applicable taxes.

Is it available annually? No, as of this writing. However, considering all the requests pouring in from Tesla owners, Elon Musk might consider offering an annual subscription.

This hints something, doesn’t it?

Is It Worth Paying For? These Owners Said…

Here’s the burning question: “Should you pay for Premium Connectivity or not?”

After all the research, I can safely say that it’s a subjective decision. Some owners found it worth it, while others found it worthless.

Would you want to invest in it? 

Let’s go through some actual customer reviews. You might resonate with someone’s situation which makes the decision easier for you.

People Who Pay For It:

To answer the thread question (would you pay for premium connectivity?), I also pay for it monthly.

I personally would MUCH rather pay $120 a year, than $9.99 a month, and pay yearly for these things whenever I can. That makes me decide “do I want this thing for a year for $120?” I also really dislike monthly bills. I have my home mortgage and my cars as monthly payments, but other than that and utilities (gas, water, electricity) I don’t have many other monthly bills unless it’s something like this where I want it and have no other choice.

Since they don’t offer a yearly price for premium connectivity “standard, in the app or website” and you would have to call someone to set it up, to me, that would have a 50/50 chance of either not working, or not ever being able to be canceled should one change their mind “later”… so I suck it up and pay monthly.

jjrandorin

For me, it would be totally worth it as well. I find the hassle of streaming music from my phone to be just that, a hassle.

Live traffic is nice, as it helps keep me from sitting in traffic, but it alone would not be worth $10 a month.

Video Streaming and karaoke also don’t really add much in my opinion. I’m not one to want to watch Netflix while sitting in traffic — LOL. Maybe someday when I can let the car drive itself, but we will have to see.

But, even if just for the music options, I would pay it.

JC DuBois

I pay for it just for the ease of using Spotify. The satellite maps are nice, but I can live without that, and the traffic information also. Now that they have rolled out the update that stops WiFi from being turned off when you put the car into drive, I might consider binning the subscription off and going back to tethering my phone.

OUTATIME1

People Who Don’t Pay For It:

I have it free for a year but I won’t be renewing.

The only thing I’d lose is the traffic visualization. If I was going on a trip I’d just use Waze on my phone for that.

Plus I have unlimited data and a 5G capable phone so I have no worries on that side.

I have my own Spotify Premium account so will just be tethering permanently.

Nick77

No. The only useful item from the premium offering is live traffic visualization.

You can get satellite view maps from your phone.

When do you actually use video streaming or web browsing in your Tesla?

Karaoke is not a must-have.

Music streaming can be done via your mobile device.

For the $120 a year, I’d consider paying for Sirius or Spotify streaming.

Garren Du

Third-Party Thoughts

The following are the most helpful videos on YouTube related to our topic:

Provides valuable insights on the experience after one year of using Premium Connectivity
Good overview of the features included and the alternatives

Best Alternatives to Consider

Mobile Hotspot, Sirius XM (Satellite Radio), Bluetooth (Music), or simple USB (Music)… These are the major alternatives employed by Tesla owners in place of Tesla Premium Connectivity.

Let’s discuss each option one by one.

Mobile Hotspot

As mentioned earlier, you can enjoy almost all the Premium Connectivity features by connecting your Tesla to Wi-Fi. 

So if your mobile phone allows you to tether, just connect your Tesla with your personal mobile network via hotspot and you are ready to go. 

A few lags were reported, though, regarding the stability of the internet and excessive bandwidth usage. 

But if you are a less frequent driver and you are less likely to use these features on a daily basis, then it is a win-win deal.

SiriusXM

SiriusXM is a satellite radio company that provides live streaming of music, sports, news, etc. 

You can enjoy SiriusXM in the Standard Connectivity package if you have a Tesla Model S or Model X. 

It comes with a three-month free trial on the latest software update. Service will be stopped automatically at the end of your trial period, so if you want to enjoy this feature after, then you’ll have to pay a very minimal subscription fee.

You can easily subscribe to SiriusXM via your Tesla touch screen or through your SiriusXM app. 

Related Article: Can I Get Sirius in my Tesla Model 3? These Owners Figured Out How

Bluetooth Pairing

A very feasible option to enjoy music in your Tesla stereos. 

Just create a playlist of songs that you like to listen to while driving, pair your mobile’s Bluetooth with your Tesla, and boom! You can vibe on your own music playlist hassle-free.

USB Drive (Playback)

Tesla also provides you with a USB drive playback option on your vehicle with the Standard Connectivity package. So just buy a USB, transfer a jukebox, connect it with Tesla, and vibe along the route, listening to your favorite songs. 

Frequent Buyer Concerns

How do I activate Premium Connectivity?

If your Tesla fulfills the eligibility criteria, then it’s as easy as pie to purchase the Premium Connectivity package from your vehicle touch screen or the Tesla app.

Follow these five basic steps to get the subscription of Premium Connectivity from your vehicle touch screen:

  1. Tap “Controls” on the touch screen.
  2. Tap “Upgrades.”
  3. An option to subscribe to Premium Connectivity will pop up on the screen if you are eligible.
  4. Select “Swipe to Purchase.” If your vehicle has an updated software version, you’ll have complete Premium Connectivity features once your vehicle is parked.
  5. You can complete your subscription purchase in the Tesla app in case your billing address or credit card is missing on file.

You can subscribe to Premium Connectivity from the Tesla app by following these five simple steps:

  1. Open the Tesla app on your phone.
  2. Tap on the “Upgrades” option.
  3. Tap the “Subscribe” button on top of the screen.
  4. Tick the Premium Connectivity checkbox.
  5. Tap on the “Subscribe” button again.

How do I check if my Tesla has Premium Connectivity?

You can confirm if your Tesla has Premium Connectivity by simply checking your subscription status on the Tesla app.

Here’s a video guide:

Related clip starts @ 1:44.

Can I connect my Tesla to my phone’s hotspot? 

If your mobile phone allows tethering, then it is as simple as ABC to connect Tesla to your personal phone’s hotspot.

Simply tap on the Wi-Fi option and type the password. You can use all Standard Connectivity features by connecting your Tesla to your phone’s hotspot. 

Here are some downsides to this, however:

  1. It is reported by users that Tesla turns off Wi-Fi every time you put the car into “reverse” and “drive.” 
  2. Streaming music and video on your Tesla touch screens have been reported to consume a ton of bandwidth, which makes it tougher to manage within the data limit of your phone. 

Are there discounts for Tesla Premium Connectivity?

Per the Tesla website, there are currently no discounts available for the Tesla Premium Connectivity package. 

Are there free trials for Tesla Premium Connectivity?

Here’s an answer from the Tesla website:

tesla premium connectivity

Is lifetime Premium Connectivity transferrable when I buy or sell a used Tesla?

Yes, the lifetime Premium Connectivity is transferable to the subsequent owners whether you buy or sell a used Tesla.

Here’s what the Tesla website says about this:

Tesla cars bought privately or through a third-party that qualify for Premium Connectivity based on the above table and have been sold before January 20, 2020, will have free Premium Connectivity for the life of the car (excluding retrofits or upgrades needed for any features or services that are not provided by Tesla, such as a telecommunications network).

A 30-day trial of Premium Connectivity will be given to Tesla cars bought privately or through a third party after January 21, 2020, if they don’t already have Premium Connectivity or an active Premium Connectivity trial. The trial will start when the buyer takes over the ownership. We need the buyer to let us know when that happens. The trial can’t be pushed back or changed.

Final Thoughts: Tesla Premium Connectivity

The bottom line is that your trial period experience should be sufficient for you to decide if you want this feature or not.

Think about whether all the extra features contributed in a good way or you hardly used them during the trial period. 

If they did contribute, $9.99 won’t hurt a bit. If they didn’t, however, opt out. 

For new owners, my advice would be to give it a shot. Who knows it might end up being useful for you.

Muhammad Hassan

Engineer by trade and writer by passion, Hassan is an automotive enthusiast who thinks EVs are the future. At TTU, he discusses the coolest features and products Model 3 owners look for -- so they can better experience their cars. In his free time, he enjoys tea, reading, and listening to podcasts.

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