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Sprint Offers ‘Free’ GPS

Overland Park, Kan. — Sprint is continuing an aggressive push into GPS offerings via cellphone, becoming the first carrier to offer navigation for free in one of its data service options.

The company announced that it will add unlimited turn-by-turn directions and real-time traffic plus other services including a “lowest price gas finder” at no extra charge to its current $25 data service plan that also includes Web access and music and TV.

Previously GPS was offered as a $9.99/month option.

As of April, Sprint will also offer unlimited GPS as a $2.99/day option for users who subscribe to other data packs. Also in April, Sprint will launch a new data plan with unlimited GPS, mobile e-mail, Sprint Picture Mail, Sprint Radio and Sprint TVSM for $20/month.

Sprint consumer applications and GPS solutions product manager Charnsin Tulyasathien said the company is getting more aggressive in its navigation offering because customer studies show that 50 percent of users, when asked, request maps on their handset. He said, “I think GPS will become very prevalent [in cellphones]. A majority of Sprint handsets, 15 in total, will be navigation capable as of this spring, he said.

The full Sprint GPS offering in addition to turn-by-turn directions, real-time traffic and lowest-price gas finder includes 3D moving maps similar to those on portable GPS device, one-click rerouting around traffic, local searches with more than 10 million points of interest, voice input for entering a destinations and pedestrian mode.