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> > Bharti Airtel launches navigation application [update]

Bharti Airtel launches navigation application [update]

Telecom service provider Bharti Airtel Wednesday launched a navigation application – SmartDrive – that enables users to view their location on a map and plan the route from one place to an

Telecom service provider Bharti Airtel Wednesday launched a navigation application – SmartDrive – that enables users to view their location on a map and plan the route from one place to another. “SmartDrive is assisted by a voice based turn by turn navigation that gives real time information updates on traffic situation on roads around,” the company said in a statement.

SmartDrive offers services such as search for points of interests like restaurants, theatres and shopping malls, and voice navigation. It also offers live traffic information. Currently, it is available in Delhi and NCR, Mumbai and Bangalore and will be made available in Hyderabad, Chennai and Pune by December.

Airtel subscribers can go to www.airtel.in/smartdrive from their mobile and then download the application or SMS smart to 54321 and then click on the link in the message. It is currently available for Android, BlackBerry, Symbian and Windows, with an iOS version to be available soon.

While search and map views are being offered for free, a daily pack for navigation services costs Rs.10, its monthly pack would cost Rs.99. Live traffic services would cost Rs.3 per day while a monthly pack would be for Rs.49. Airtel is offering data browsing free till Nov 30, post which normal data usage charges will apply as per the data pack availed by the customer.

BGR India’s take: It is too little, too late for Airtel to offer navigation as a value added service. Google has already flipped the switch on its Maps app in India and now offers navigation, live traffic and much more. We don’t see why anyone would pay a daily fee to access Airtel’s navigation service when they can do it for free on Google Maps.

Airtel responds: Most data plans have a data usage limit, after that limit is reached, data transfer is chargeable. So when a customer uses Google maps, his data allocation is being exhausted all the time and he has to pay over and above the data plan charges in case he uses more data than his data plan allows. With SmartDrive, once you subscribe to either navigation or traffic or both, the data usage is not chargeable, irrespective of however much this app is used.