How 'free' is free satellite navigation?
Friday 09 July 2010
Satellite navigation device manufacturer Garmin has launched an attack on "free" satellite navigation services over the mobile phone network, warning that it "isn't as free as it would like to make out" when traveling overseas.
Garmin, which manufactures satellite navigation equipment and sells navigation smartphones, says that it racked up a bill of up to £39 (€46) in roaming fees doing the 298 km drive from Calais to Paris, which required downloading 12-13 megabytes of data per journey.
It used an Android handset and Google Maps Navigation for its tests, which were conducted using both a pay-and-go and contract SIM card from UK mobile network O2 - although the results are likely to be similar with most global networks.
Recently European legislation has capped the amount that data costs whilst roaming (using a mobile phone outside of its home country), but rates remain at between €0.80 and €1 per megabyte and users aren't warned until they've spent €40 in fees.
Garmin says that for some routes the cost could be up to 20 pence (€0.23) per mile for navigation - far more than fuel and a nasty surprise at the end of the vacation.
“We are encouraging anyone driving abroad this year on holiday to be aware of the costs," said Garmin spokesman Anthony Chmarny.
"Sometimes it can be difficult to tell whether a mobile phone application has maps included or if it relies on the mobile network to download maps, which can lead to huge mobile bills."
For travelers looking to avoid costs associated with roaming, there are a few options.
Some mobile phone networks sell individual data bundles that can be used overseas and provide an inclusive allowance which could make using over-the-air services such as Google Navigation or TeleNav more cost-effective overseas.
Alternatively, driver could use an app which comes preloaded with maps, such as the TomTom app or the Megellan RoadMate apps - although they are considerably larger than apps which pull mapping data from the cloud.
Finally, GPS devices from traditional satellite navigation providers such as Garmin and TomTom are normally preloaded with maps, meaning that they don't need to download any routing - and the "Live" services that do require a cellular connection are normally included in the price.
Life & Style blogs
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches, it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don’t change Europe’s attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
- 1 Moscow voted the world's unfriendliest city
- 2 The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
- 3 I'm pansexual – here are the five biggest misconceptions about my sexuality
- 4 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...
£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...