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AT&T's GPS service for iPhone: Would you pay $9.99 a month?

July 2, 2009 |  3:01 pm


Screen grab from iTunes app store.

AT&T sent out a message yesterday to its subscribers touting its new voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation service, operated by TeleNav.

For "just $9.99 a month," the message said, subscribers can "get there faster, safer and without any hassles."

Turns out the monthly fee is a hassle to some. True, AT&T is simply the conduit for the underlying service from TeleNav in Sunnyvale, Calif. But the carrier still is getting some grief from consumers. One reviewer at ComputerWorld argued that the "free" iPhone app was a "Trojan horse into your wallet." (It's free to install but costs $9.99 a month to use.)

The broader question is whether consumers, who have grown used to free or very inexpensive apps that do a dizzying array of high-tech tasks, will still go for a subscription model. For AT&T and TeleNav, their competitors are TomTom, which showed off its turn-by-turn app last month at the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference but has yet to announce a pricing structure, and Google Maps, which provides directions for free but doesn't have some of the bells and whistles of TeleNav. There are also the traditional GPS devices, which cost as little as $99.99, no monthly fee required.

Tell us where you would turn for directions. Would you pay 10 bucks a month for a service on your iPhone? Or would a frills-free Google Maps app work just as well?

-- Alex Pham