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Vodafone launch free iPhone Nav app with a catch

Article by: Darren Griffin
Date: 14 Jan 2010

pocketgpsworld.comTo mark the launch of the iPhone on the Vodafone Network thy have released a free navigation app in the iTunes Appstore.

The biggest surprise is that Vodafone have chosen to offer their own app rather than work a deal with TomTom.

Vodafone already work with TomTom on the HDTraffic service so it would seem to have been an obvious opportunity for them to white label a TomTom app.

Although it doesn't look the most attractive or featured nav app available it does come with turn-by-turn voice guidance and a UK map. Wayfinder appear to be the app authors with maps from TeleAtlas

And of course it is hard to argue with FREE right? Well there may be a catch........

However, a news item over at 3G.co.uk reports that the app is only free until the end of April after which you will be required to pay 3/month on a fixed term contract or 5/mth if you don't want to be tied down.

There is no mention of any charges on the iTunes App page nor can we work out how Vodafone could implement a charge at a later date so it remains to be seen how or indeed if this will happen.

I'm downloading the app for a road test but in the meantime grab yourself a free copy from the iTunes Appstore (link below).


Vodafone Navigation Vodafone Navigation





Posted by MaFt on Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:03 pm Reply with quote

perhaps the app is time-bombed for the end of april after which time you will be required to enter your vodafone contract details?


Posted by MaFt on Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:09 pm Reply with quote

appstore description says it will only work on the vodafone network and not on wifi - the app is only 10.2mb so it must use offboard maps and detect the network/ip that the request comes through.

it also says 1 month free trial - nothing about free until april!

requires a vodafone simcard too. and states that 'use of map and search are free but subject to standard data charges'. so your 5 a month pays for the privelege of paying vodafone money if you go over their data allowance...!

they could catch a LOT of people out!


Posted by Darren on Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:15 pm Reply with quote

Ah yes. I missed the bumpf as it was hidden under the ...more link, there is absolutely no info on the main page which is rather naughty.

So yes, this is an off-board app and clearly the charges will be implemented. Quite why anyone would consider agreeing to 5/mth for this when there are far better apps for 25+ that have no ongoing charges I can't fathom.

Darren Griffin - Editor

Posted by gatorguy6996 on Thu Jan 14, 2010 2:01 pm Reply with quote

Darren, an excellent question for TomTom. Since announcing last year that they would put emphasis on establishing a market for white label nav solutions using TomTom's navigation expertise and TeleAtlas map data, I've yet to see one emerge. Vodafone would seem to be the ideal candidate.

Garmin 1695 / 255 / 760 w/MSN - Droid w/Google nav + Navigon - Navigon 8100T - Dakota10 - GPSMap76C - GeoMate Jr.

Posted by MikeB on Thu Jan 14, 2010 5:50 pm Reply with quote

I think the issues here are with the carriers. They really cannot get their heads round selling thing that dont have any residual income. If you look at the difference between the European and US markets in mobile navigation up until recently the US has had monthly billed (and over the air) applications, whereas Europe has predominantly gone for one time purchase applications.

Mike Barrett
Editor, PocketGPSWorld.com

Posted by mrfrank on Thu Jan 14, 2010 11:08 pm Reply with quote

he he,

this is why they have Wayfinder and not TomTom:


Old news, but more and more phones from Vodafone are coming with Wayfinder (SE995, Samsung H1/M1, etc..).
Remember they used to have Telmap satnav apps on their phones?
Well, now they are moving to Wayfinder as they bought it ;)

P.S. Telmap have now a deal with O2 (I think there was some piece of news in this forum some time ago about this), after Vodafone bought Wayfinder Smile

Regarding the trial period and how vodafone will charge users on a later stage, that is easy, as the app only works on their SIM cards and on vodafone network with their connection profile. So, they know your MSISDN (phone number) from the http transaction and can decide to charge you or stop you using the application when and how they want.

Finally, wayfinder does indeed download the map on the go, so it always needs internet access (no connection means no map, thus no navigation).
In fact, it only downloads few kbytes of coordinates and the route calculated from wayfinder server. The app just makes up the map on the screen.

Ah, and even if 3 or 5/month may seem a lot, at least you are supposed to get always up to date maps and POIs, since they are downloaded everytime and not stored in a preloaded map on the phone.
Need to see though how often the maps and POIs are updated.
BTW: I think wayfinder also supports speedcamera alerts...unfortunately not PGPSW ones. They must be outdated by now already Smile


Posted by MaFt on Fri Jan 15, 2010 10:10 am Reply with quote

60 per year just to keep 'up to date maps'??!! are they mad?! you can get tomtom europe at the moment for 59.99. the last update of that had the newest maps too. ok if you only use it for one year, but 2 years down the line you've bought tomtom twice or copilot 5 times!


Posted by Goober556 on Sat Jan 16, 2010 9:45 am Reply with quote

Sounds ok for the occasional user. You could subscribe for a month when you need it and then unsubscribe.

Posted by Darren on Sat Jan 16, 2010 11:36 am Reply with quote

Goober556 Wrote:
Sounds ok for the occasional user. You could subscribe for a month when you need it and then unsubscribe.

Perhaps but given how TomTom handle it with their PLUS service I'd be very wary.

They touted this adhoc subscription option as a huge benefit but it transpires that with the notice and other catches the minimum subscription period is 3 months.

Darren Griffin - Editor

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