I picked this one up as a rather interesting example of the growing influence of ‘free navigation’. First we had Google offering turn-by-turn with Android devices in the States, then Nokia stole the show (and killed the share prices of the other navigation companies) by offering free navigation with almost every new device they manufacturer via Ovi Maps 3.0. And now it’s interesting to see the mobile operators — o2, in this case — jumping into territory which used to be exclusively the domain of the paid subscription.
Here are the details from the announcement:
Telefónica O2 Germany is giving its customers a complete search, mapping and navigation system, effective immediately. It doesn’t matter whether you are travelling by car or on foot: almost any GPS-enabled mobile phone will become a pocket-sized route planner with Telmap Navigation – including the latest traffic information from ADAC.
Telmap Navigation uses spoken and graphical navigation instructions to guide the user to the desired destination in a precise and step-by-step manner. It is as reliable and easy as a conventional in-car navigation system. The solution is also ideal for pedestrians. For example, you can navigate to the most important sights when visiting a city and at the same time search for any bars, restaurants or hotels that are close by. O2 offers this service to its customers for FREE – regardless of whether it is a prepaid or fixed-term agreement. The only fees are for the mobile data transfer and so O2 recommend the mobile surf flat rate for customers who do not already have a data plan.
All you need is an O2 GPS-enabled mobile phone. Effective immediately, Telmap Navigator is preinstalled on many new GPS-enabled mobile phones. Customers who are already using GPS-enabled mobile phones can download the new free solution directly to their phones at http://wap.telmap.com/o2de/. Telmap Navigator is already available on numerous devices, for example for the Motorola Milestone, HTC Touch HD2, Samsung Galaxy and Sony Ericsson W995. A version for Palm WebOS is planned for the summer of 2010.
I’m theorising that this deal wouldn’t have been at all possible this time last year. But the changing market conditions have, I suspect, made it a little bit easier for o2 Germany to negotiate.
Good news for the consumer.
And an especially confusing situation if you’re an o2 DE customer using a nice new Nokia… you’ll probably want to use the on-board Ovi Maps. Will Telmap Navigator be preinstalled on Nokia devices too?