OnStar Hands-Free Calling Will Be Sunset in 2022344
With the proliferation of smartphones, some in-vehicle technology features are going the way of the dodo. The latest victim is the OnStar Phone feature, also known as Hands-Free Calling, which is slated for official retirement in just a few years’ time.
According to GM Authority sources, General Motors plans to sunset the OnStar Hands-Free Calling service in 2022. At that point, all vehicles on the road still equipped with the feature will no longer have the ability to make calls using the OnStar Hands-Free Calling system.
Last year, we exclusively broke the news that General Motors was discontinuing the OnStar Phone Feature. At the time, we spoke with Stephanie Lang, General Motors’ Advanced Technology Communications, OnStar and Connectivity representative, who indicated that GM would discontinue HFC for 2020 model year and newer vehicles.
OnStar HFC was first made available in the late ‘90s, arriving as the industry’s first built-in calling feature provided by an automaker. HFC is separate from the Bluetooth-based hands-free calling system that connects to a smartphone, and is operated primarily through the infotainment screen, or with voice recognition commands. Users could originally purchase minutes through OnStar, and each vehicle was assigned it’s own unique phone number.
Arriving prior to the proliferation of smartphones, and indeed before the proliferation of cell phones in general, the OnStar Hands-Free Calling system was ahead of its time. Even now, with widespread smartphone adoption, the system remains useful for those who prefer not to have a smartphone, but still want to make phone calls on the move.
Unfortunately, the system is now headed for retirement. However, it’s important to note that the Hands-Free Calling feature uses the vehicle’s built-in OnStar system and model, and that Bluetooth smartphone connections, as well as the various features of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, will continue to be available as they are now.
Are you disappointed to learn about the retirement of OnStar HFC? Let us know in the comments, and make sure to subscribe to GM Authority for more OnStar news and ongoing GM news coverage.
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I can see that you care nothing about what i write ! You said in my other comment that ” I ” previously said something !!!!!!!!!!!
Frankly, I’ve never commented on her before but that was your way of not posting my earlier comment.
we live so far om in the woods on star hands free is the only way we can have a cell phone or call on the road for emergency this is horrible to hear
Typical of all companies these days. We have had on-star since the early 2000s. It is on both my Cadillac’s. We use HFC because it is illegal to talk on a cell phone. It was also handy when my spouse had an accident. She was so upset that she could not dial a phone. All she had to say is call home. We also use it for traffic updates from me when she is on her way to work. It will be missed. I guess they do not want to offer upgrades to 4g. Just a final note. The reason I own Cadillacs and we have 3 is because of the features. A 2007 DTS, 2014 Escalade, and 2019 Escalade. Even our historical vehicle is a 70s Eldorado.
What a shame.
Although I rarely use HFC, the piece of mind to having this feature in the car when I accidentally leave my phone at home. To be able to call someone and say hey I left my phone or you can just call me on the car gave me peace of mind! I totally hate this feature is leaving and I wish they would reconsider!!!
I have lost so much trust with On Star. My reason for having On Star was the phone that was easy to use. I do know On Star will make a call for you but it’s not the same as saying name tag and the phone has the numbers stored in it.When your driving you can’t look your numbers up. I do have Alexa in the car but it never works for calling someone.
After using all my minutes I dropped Onstar all together…I don’t need them to tell me I need an oil change or my tire pressure is low…
My husband does not have a cell phone and we will really miss the hfc. We bought 100 minutes which was good for a year and only used it to get a hold of each other, not to chat with friends. It has come in very handy when he was overdue from a hunting day, and I could get a hold of him to make sure all was ok. Our minutes ran out Nov 2021 and we could not buy anymore. It’s too back we couldn’t keep this with the older trucks , that is one reason we bought this truck.
Well I’ve had onstar sice 2014 which is when I got my GMC 2014 Terrain. I am Hearing impaired so I’ve not gotten a cell phone because of my hearing. Hand free calling has really been good for me being Hearing Impaired. Also the GPS system has been great. We’ve used it to go from home to Las Vegas which was an 8 hour trip. Took us right to our hotel in Vegas. When the traffic and weather was l discontinued I was upset but I stayed with OnStar. My plan has been I get 30 minutes for Hand free calling a month. Last month I was down to 7 minutes and called to see where my minutes were and was told I was on a plan now that I can’t get minutes.. But they sure knew how to take my money. I called and was told someone will call me about getting a refund. I sure hope so. The bottom line is : No traffic report, No weather report, No GPS, and no Hand free calling. So why should I renew my subscription next March? So I don’t need crash protection when I only had one accident since I’ve been driving which starred when I was 16 years old and I’m now 75. Big Joke. This will cost #199,00, BIG BIG JOKE. So now I have 7 minutes to call on until March 2022. Thanks for nothing ONSTAR.
I spoke with an OnStar agent a week ago when my 400+ HFC minutes became zero and she advised me of the discontinuation of the calling minutes but the other OnStar services would remain. She told me there will be a converter available next year to make the system in my 2007 vehicle Bluetooth compatible but I did not fully understand how it would work. I agree with the others that having the minutes available and service nearly everywhere was a huge benefit.
I tried to add minutes with a rep recently m…because I left my cell phone at a business! I was shocked to find the service wi be canceled. The antennae is on the vehicle.
I think customers that purchased relying on HFC should have the phone option if they choose to pay for it. I wonder what other features will be dropped. This is a negative move GM! Onstar HFC was a HUGE selling point for me. We gave 4 GM vehicles.
The loss of Hands Free Calling is very significant. Has GM sent out an official notification to their customers? What, if any services will continue to function? Is the WiFi hot spot and navigation also going away?
The storm damage in Kentucky and adjacent states reminds me of a time when a major hurricane took down power, telephone and cable tv lines in my community. For nearly 2 weeks we were without power, telephone land lines & cell, no internet, no TV but ON Star HFC & internet hot spot was working!
Having the security and ability to communicate with family & Business clients when nothing else was working was so significant at that time, that it convinced me that we should always have a GM vehicle w/ OnStar. Very disappointed in GM & their lack of communication….
So sad…. I don’t believe GM cares one darn bit, about their customers, and how much we depend on HFC. Yes indeed, when all other devices fail, during a hurricane… we could always depend on the car phones. Apparently, from what I’ve read…. GM has been planning to eliminate this service since 2017. And, newer model years do not have this feature in the vehicles. Guess it wasn’t importance for GM, to advise their customers OF THESE CHANGES? Or perhaps they’ve kept it under wraps to preserve the OnStar business (the real money)?
I found out about this service going away, quite by accident. I called OnStar because the truck phone wouldn’t work. Was advised the minutes had expired, and we’d need to renew every 3 months, instead of 6 months. Just like the minute renewal went from 1 year to 6 months… without notice. I said “we paid for these minutes, and should have over 800”. The representative gave us 300. I thought that odd… because OnStar doesn’t give away anything. Nothing else was said.
Then, a few weeks later… I call to add minutes… That’s when the representative tells me HFC will be “SUNSET in February 2022”. SAY WHAT? DEVESTATING news. As a loyal GM and OnStar customer… I felt BETRAYEND. So upset… I asked to speak with someone in authority. Of course, NO ONE WAS AVAILABLE. That was October… We’re in December, and still haven’t received a call from OnStar. They won’t even face their customers.
P. S. Renewed OnStar for another year, and added minutes to the SUV, along about this same time. Was advised the minutes expire on January 17th. Nothing was said about HFC going away the next month. Go figure…
Probably a foolish question but why can’t GM offer an upgrade to keep the security and convenience of HFC They need to consider their loyal GM vehicle owners.
In my honest opinion GM doesn’t care about anything thing except selling new cars, so a feature doesn’t work we can talk the buyer into something else. They talked me into by foreign cars
For those of us that don’t have a smartphone and rely on the HFC feature it’s not fair that gm didn’t consider this by thinking everyone has a smartphone I would rather pay for HFC because I sure can’t afford a smartphone
I dropped all of Onstar just for the reason of hands free calling be available in areas where my cell phone didn’t work. Also put my GMC Acadia up for sale and buying a Toyota Highlander.
I’m glad we’re not the only ones disappointed in OnStar. We’ve had it in 3 vehicles for years. We depend on the hands free calling. That was one of the main features. I still had almost 400 minutes when they shut if off last week. They really couldn’t give me a satisfactory answer on why I couldn’t use them until February. The same thing happened with my husband’s car. We’ve always bought GM cars, but if this is how they treat their loyal customers , it’s time to re-think that decision. We relied on the HFC. We’re seniors and GM needs to realize that not everyone has smart phones.
Do not have a smart phone. Will miss the service!
Only reason to have onstar for me was the phone….we get poor cell service and I am near Adirondacks often with poor cell services. The onstar phone had lots more power to reach towers. No more expensive onstar here!!
Very disappointed that we can no longer use the onstar minutes Might cancel onstar all together
I did on 2 cars because of the elimination of the phone feature, they tried to get me to stay by saying in an accident they would send help, thanks I’ll dial 911, and if my car gets stolen they can disable it, but that costs $5 more per month. My car gets stolen, my insurance pays me I get a new car and guess what it won’t be a GM
I’m so sorry to find out no more hands free calling. Several times I needed to call home while on the road but now I can’t and it’s impossible to use my cell phone while driving. I now understand why so many accidents occur with drivers trying to use their phone and drive.
What happened to the minutes I paid for? I used OnStar and my cell phone via blue tooth and OnStar phone was very useful when cell phone coverage was poor. A very disappointing decision.