As wireless carriers complete the switch from analog to digital networks, victims will include the older OnStar system in cars, home alarms and up to a million cell phones, according to an Associated Press story in the Chicago Tribune.
General Motors, which owns OnStar, began modifying its cars after the 2002 decision by the Federal Communications Commission to replace the analog network, but even some 2005 models can't use the digital OnStar network and can't be upgraded. For those cars that can be upgraded, GM will do it for $15.
OnStar said it posted in 2006 the news on its Web site that the analog network would be switched off at the end of 2007 and GM says it notified all affected customers. The change could affect up to a half-million cars or more. Car manufacturers including GM and Mercedes-Benz face a potential class-action lawsuit over shutdown of the analog network.
Verizon, AT&T and Alltel are the largest carriers with analog networks, with Alltel planning to take longest to shut down service, in three stages ending in September. However, a few rural cellular providers will keep their analog networks available for now. About 400,000 home alarm systems also will be affected, according to The Inquirer.