: Analog OnStar phone

08-25-06, 07:28 PM
I am a bit pissed with Cadillac regarding its failure to disclose that the OnStar phone in my 2005 STS I leased a year ago will not work after Jan 1, 2008. Seems that early STS models (mine was built in Oct 2004) are equipped with an analog phone system that will not work after Jan 1 2008 because the FCC has mandated that all cell phone systems be digital and that analog services would cease to function.

If the STS I leased was equipped with an analog/digital system (those built a month later) this would be a non-issue. But that's not the case. OnStar tells me that I can have the system changed out to digital for free but I have to subscribe and prepay for the OnStar premium service in order to get the changeover for free.

Since my lease is up mid 2008 there will be some 18 months left on the service, and OnStar has told me that the 3-year subscription goes with the vehicle so there is extra value to its resale value. Unfortunately, I lease the car - so BFD!

I wish there was some simple way to squeeze Cadillac/GM to make some adjustments for not disclosing the obsolesce to the buyer. I am sure other owners/leasees have run into the same isuue. I guess at this point in my life I should finally accept this type of corporate bad behavior. SIGH!

08-27-06, 02:31 AM
Sorry for the frustration, you're not the first as there are several full threads on this already.

Only comments are that the vehicle literature was pretty specific that it was analog/digital "ready" for ALL 2005 series STS's regardless of manufacture date. My first one was actually a late model 05 and had the same system.

When they first released the STS GM had not determined what the upgrade package would be. As I recall they announced it around July/August of last year so the owners info prior to that did not include the package purchase requirements (3 yrs pre-paid) from OnStar.

Again not any relief as all who have the 05 are stuck and none are happy about it...

08-29-06, 01:51 AM
OnStar tells me that I can have the system changed out to digital for free but I have to subscribe and prepay for the OnStar premium service in order to get the changeover for free.

I nagged my dealer for a year to get the upgrade, because the OnStar personal calling analog system was very poor in my area.
The end result was I had to subscribe to the basic OnStar service for
three years, the dealer added a year of service to make it four years.
They told me that if I purchase an OnStar equipped vehicle before
the four years are up, I can transfer any remaining balance.

Benjamin Simon
08-29-06, 02:46 AM
That Onstar phone is very costly anyways. I just stick with the cell phone.

03-10-07, 12:02 PM
After writing a letter to my dealer regarding the failure of Cadillac to disclose the fact that in order to use my OnStar phone after analog is no longer available I would loose all OnStar service, the dealer went to work getting Cadillac to change their tune. My position was that the 3-year warranty covered the phone and since once the new law went into effect there was a warranty issue. The net-net was that I got the new digital phone for free with only a ONE year basic OnStar service - not three.

The dealer had no idea that some of the early 2005 STSs were analog only. Initially, even the Cadillac regional service office said that this was impossible. Needless to say they soon realized they were wrong. But it took a number of months of continued prodding by the dealer to get them to adjust their thinking.

I owe this success to the dealer - Allen Cadillac. They did the cage rattling for me - as well they should since this is the 9th car I have purchased/leased from them.

And, now I can add the car phone to my Verizon Wireless service.

Anyone experiencing the same thing should just be persistent like a junk yard dog. Cadillac should do the change without the 3 year requirement.

03-10-07, 02:49 PM
I got the new digital phone for free with only a ONE year basic OnStar service - not three.

Not to burst your balloon over what was frustrating for many 05 owners (myself included at the time) but the one year deal has been an option for all since October of last year. GM did the three year committment for one year only then dropped the program down to the current one year option.

And I agree Allen is good. Although I did not buy from them, I do use them for my service since they handle more performance and accessorized models.

03-10-07, 05:31 PM
Yes, while this problem was true back in August of last year, when this thread started, it is not a problem now.
All Digital upgrades are now handled with a 1 year non-transferrable non-refundable subscription.
The 3 year was transferrable so while this one is less flexible it costs less.

This change did come about last fall.
You have to pay 1 years' subscription and a $15 fee.

03-11-07, 07:26 PM
Thanks EWILL, I just got my OnStar digital upgrade last week. I got it just before I had to renew my yearly subscription for 07. So it cost me the $15 plus the yearly fee of $199 for the basic service. My question to you--when I left the dealership the new digital system would not work. I ended up calling OnStar and went through an initialization process that took approximately 45 minutes before it was complete. Apparently the dealer's Service Dept. did not do this initialization when they installed the upgrade. I really could not get a straight answer from either the dealer or OnStar on who should have done this initialization. I was thinking that the Service Dept. should have and had it operational for me when I picked up the car. Anyway, it is working great now. One thing that I might mention--when you get this upgrade, they do change your car's phone number. I guess you cannot keep the old number. One additional note--I did have a 2007 DTS loaner car when my car was in for service. I like my STS 100% better than the DTS. My STS is more quiet and a smoother riding car than the DTS! People in my carpool even commented on the same thing! That North Star sounded like an old truck when I accelerated to get on the freeway--I really was surprised at the noise!

03-12-07, 06:09 AM
The DTS does have an odd sound but some folks don't notice it.
It's a FWD car vs. your RWD car and lots of things are different.
I too like the STS.

About the new upgrade procedure and activation. It is complicated.
Back in January OnStar changed the way we activate systems, upgrade or for a part replacement due to a failure.
We connect the scan tool to your car, and to a computer and perform a programming routine. This routine gathers data from the new module, the VIN and puts it all together then sends it directly to OnStar over the web.
OnStar then uses that data to remotely activate your vehicle.
Yes you must get a new phone number whenever the module is replaced.

This new activation process takes up to 24 hours so technically you should not have tried it until a day later. That is if they followed the proper procedure. Only those of us who have done many of these are clear on how it should be done. From time to time I still have problem units but it is getting more rare.
The dealer should have been able to tell you all this.
If you press the OnStar button you should hear a message telling you that your service is not activated yet. If you hear this more than 24 hours after the procedure has been completed then you have to go about it a different way. Doing a manual activation like you did, shouldn't have caused problems, but it can.

A lot of dealers are going to have problems with this, and I know a lot of them are.
Fortunately I have the phone number of someone who can help me solve all my OnStar configuration issues in no time ;)

If they do it right, you need to wait 24 hours after you get it done before pressing the blue button and then an advisor should come on and finish setting you all up.

03-12-07, 09:33 AM
EWILL, Thanks for the reply! If the Dealer would have told me that, I would have been fine with knowing that it would not work for 24 hours. I was lead to believe that it was functional when I left the dealership. This website is great as you learn so much how things should work. I really do like my STS and it has been one of the best cars that I have owned!

03-12-07, 12:44 PM
STS, they should have known how to tell you that.

Last year the systems were configured and operational before you got them back but due to the response they hope to receive this year from digital upgrades they are pushing this system into automation.

As you can see calling an advisor and setting the vehicle up manually is time consuming not only for the caller, but for the OnStar Advisor also. Imagine how much time it would take if every tech in the country was doing digital upgrades with manual setups!
The new automated system does work pretty well, but you have to practice delayed gratification.

I really feel uncomfortable giving the vehicle back to the customer with the system not set up but that is not really an option for me anymore due to the new system.

Curious George
03-13-07, 09:30 PM
...equipped with an analog phone system that will not work after Jan 1 2008 because the FCC has mandated that all cell phone systems be digital and that analog services would cease to function.

I sympathize with your complaint. I offer a minor correction and a link to the rest of the iceberg whose tip you've snagged.

The correction: In 2002 the FCC ruled that cellular service providers may drop analog service after February 18, 2008, and they are dropping it in favor of digital service as fast as they can pay for the new equipment. (Verizon dropped its analog service in the San Francisco Bay Area about 18 months ago.) The carriers prefer digital because they can carry more calls in the given bandwidth than they can with analog.

The link: http://www.autoweek.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070313/FREE/ (http://www.autoweek.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070313/FREE/70312006/1528/FREE)
70312006/1528/FREE (http://www.autoweek.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070313/FREE/70312006/1528/FREE)

(Make sure you get the whole URL.) The gist of the matter is that OnStar may lose a half-million subscribers after this year because those customers' cars are equipped with analog-only OnStar telematics units. Mercedes Benz and Lexus are also in trouble that way.