Satellite navigation company Garmin has warned mobile phone users about the 'hidden' costs of using smartphone sat-nav services that download maps over the mobile internet. They've calculated that users can end up with a phone bill more expensive than the cost of the fuel used for their journey.
Using an Android mobile phone with an O2 UK pay as you go SIM card and Google Maps Navigation cost them £36 in data charges for a 185-mile journey from Calais to Paris; a navigation cost of around 20p per mile (downloading 12MB of data). No mention is made of the rival Ovi Maps free service, possibly because the maps are pre-loaded on many Nokia devices.
Anthony Chmarny, Garmin’s Head of Communications, 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."