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Orange bundles satellite navigation

Software should run on most Orange smartphones, but heavy users would face unpredictable data charges
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

Orange Business Services has started bundling satellite navigation services with some of its mobile phones.

Users of the service, which is based on Webraska's navigation software, will be able to download maps and live traffic information for use with a GPS receiver, the operator announced on Wednesday.

"Using sat-nav on your mobile means businesses can save time and money. It is easy to use and enables businesses to streamline the number of devices they have to purchase and manage," said Gareth Williams, group manager for solution products at Orange Business Services, on Wednesday.

Once the application is installed, maps can be downloaded via Wi-Fi, 3G, GPRS or EDGE, although all but the first of those options will involve a data charge.

According to a spokesperson for Orange, "It is not terribly expensive to download even if you download a couple of routes a day", but — unlike T-Mobile, which has bundled smartphones with Co-Pilot navigation for some time — Orange has no flat-rate data package. The operator claims the average user will go through about 3MB a month (around 10 to 12 routes per week), which would only cost a few pounds, but heavier users — particularly those driving outside the UK — could pay significantly more.

Data aside, the service will cost an initial £150 plus VAT, which covers the software licence, GPS receiver and car windshield or fan grid for the handset. Obtaining real-time traffic information will involve a £27.59 annual fee, while the same amount again will get you Navteq maps for the parts of Europe that are not the already-included UK, Ireland, Belgium, Luxembourg and Netherlands.

Any devices running on Windows Mobile for Pocket PC or Smartphone, Symbian S60 or UIQ3, or BlackBerry Java Rimlet should be compatible.

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