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New ZTE Dongle Turns Older Cars Into Wi-Fi Hotspots

While other devices could do the trick, ZTE's $100 Mobley means there is Wi-Fi whenever the car is running.

Chinese mobile device maker ZTE has found a novel way to turn cars into Wi-Fi hotspots.

 ZTE’s Mobley turns any car made since 1996 into a hotspot on wheels.
ZTE’s Mobley turns any car made since 1996 into a hotspot on wheels.

Dubbed Mobley, the $100 dongle works with AT&T’s network to offer connectivity by plugging into the diagnostic port that exists on any car made since 1996. ZTE is the latest to tap the OBD-II port to bring modern connected car services to older cars. Verizon is using it to power a new service called Hum, while others are offering pay-per-mile insurance and other services.

A phone or portable hotspot could serve the same function as Mobley, but having a dedicated device makes sure there is Wi-Fi anytime the car is running and also eliminates the need for another device that requires charging. Buyers can either connect Mobley to a stand-alone AT&T data plan or add it to a shared data plan for $10 per month.

Though still less well known than rivals, China’s ZTE has emerged as a significant player in the U.S., in part through inexpensive cellphones but also through creative niche products. Another device — the Spro 2 — combines a portable projector and mobile hotspot.

This article originally appeared on

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