Garmin points out hidden costs in free navigation services (like Google)

In-car naviga­tion provider, Garmin has issued a warning about the costs of using satellite navigation systems built into many mobile phones that relies on the mobile data network to download maps on the fly.

The company found that using one of the most well known turn-by-turn navigation services on a mobile phone generated a bill of £36 in data roaming charges for a journey from Calais to Paris – some 185 miles – meaning a cost for navigation alone of over 20 pence per mile.

Garmin’s Head of Communications, Anthony Chmarny said: “Using free satellite navigation isn’t as free as it would like to make out, especially when you are using your mobile phone abroad. Many of the well known navigation products use the mobile phone network to download maps as they go, meaning people could end up with a nasty shock when their mobile phone bills arrive – the costs could be double that of the fuel used for the journey they were navigating.

“We tested the route from Calais to Paris four times and each time it came up with the same results: between 12-13 megabytes of data per journey. On a pay as you go mobile phone this meant £36 to £39 to get from Calais to Paris – some 185 miles on a contract plan the cost is a little less, but still equates to £24 to £26 per single journey.”

The European Union has confirmed that from 1st July 2010, users will be able to use €50 of data whilst abroad before being cut off (unless they request otherwise). Chmarny added “For someone using so called “free” navigation abroad this could leave them in the absurd position that they get half way through a journey and no longer have access to navigation to complete it.”

Garmin naturally pointed out that most of its products have the maps stored in the PND device’s own memory.

Source: Cellular News

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