Vodafone traffic service may slow drive to 3G

The mobile operator is continuing to squeeze more services out of its existing network, which may keep some users away from 3G for a while longer

Subscribers to the Vodafone live service will soon be able use their mobile phone to plan a journey across the UK and be guided around traffic congestion.

The network operator is adding traffic and travel information to Vodafone live -- which already supports picture messaging, news alerts, email and IM -- through an agreement with mobile navigation company Yeoman Group.

The deal, announced on Monday morning, means that from 28 August users of Vodafone live will be able to see the status of the nation's roads both as text and as maps. They will also be told if there is any disruption on their route and advised of the best way to avoid it when on the move.

Yeoman has been operating its TravelM8 mobile navigation service since 2001. The deal with Vodafone sent its shares soaring almost 75 percent to 42.5p in morning trading in London.

By adding more functionality to its live service, Vodafone is proving that it is possible to provide plenty of useful services over GPRS networks. This may encourage some users to wait longer before moving to 3G.