IPAQ phone: Do I pay for GPS/wifi?
October 23, 2007 4:17 AM   Subscribe

Am I charged if I leave on the wifi and whenever I use the GPS? I'd hate to find some gi-normous phone bill just because I play with the GPS when I'm wait for the metro...

Happily, a well-connected friend just gave me an old IPAQ 6915 since it requires a Vodafone contract and he doesn’t have one. His company was upgrading and tossing out these puppies and so I inherited this like-new phone. Cool. It has GPS (I’ve never signed up for a subscription, this phone has a little tomtom card) and it works with my SIM, but I’m not sure if I’m paying for it. Also, I can connect to wifi networks to send/receive email – but I’m also wary of this for fear of hidden fines. Are my concerns legitimate? I’ve called customer service at Vodafone and they were unhelpful and unknowledgeable, so maybe you guys know.

Also, if anyone has some tips or cool uses for this thing, let me know…

Thanks!
posted by mateuslee to Technology (9 answers total)
 
GPS is free to use, and no subscriptions.

WiFi won't be charged to your phone bill. It depends on the provider of the WiFi signal to charge you. If you are able to connect to hotspots, and use the net without having to first enter credit card details.....it's free.

Enjoy!

Unless...you mean GPRS...???
posted by lemonfridge at 4:46 AM on October 23, 2007


First, sorry for not putting the fact that this regards IPAQ in the initial Q.

I never knew the GPS was free! Cool... :)
posted by mateuslee at 4:47 AM on October 23, 2007


GPS is just satellites broadcasting very carefully timed signals. Your receiver (phone?) compares the time of arrival of signals from multiple satellites to figure out where it is with respect to said satellites. Knowing the time (it's in the signals), it knows where the satellites are, so it knows where you are.

So: it's free. But beware, the US govt has the option of degrading service at any time (adding random jitter), typically for "national security" reasons - think GPS receiver on a radio control plane with explosives.
posted by polyglot at 5:33 AM on October 23, 2007


Your actual location is free. But it's possible (likely?) that the phone has to download the actual maps. So you could well be looking at pretty large data charges for that.
posted by kickingtheground at 5:57 AM on October 23, 2007


Ah, the maps are on a little memory card, so I assume no downloading necessary... apparently certain ones had to be installed beforehand...
Thanks guys -
posted by mateuslee at 5:59 AM on October 23, 2007


Now, TomTom would love to sell you an updated map. Even though they publish new ones every year, you don't need to buy one, however, you may find new roads not on the map, roads may now be one-way, or points of interest being outdated.
posted by birdherder at 6:05 AM on October 23, 2007


As someone who gets around by bike in the old European city of Amsterdam, new roads aren't especially threatening... ok, a new rotary pops up here and there, but it isn't exactly confusing...
posted by mateuslee at 6:13 AM on October 23, 2007


"But beware, the US govt has the option of degrading service at any time (adding random jitter), typically for "national security" reasons - think GPS receiver on a radio control plane with explosives."

This is true, but it is not really much of a risk factor when you are considering just using the phone for a simple navigational aid. It's not like GPS is not a reliable service.
posted by jcwagner at 9:02 AM on October 23, 2007


But beware, the US govt has the option of degrading service at any time (adding random jitter), typically for "national security" reasons - think GPS receiver on a radio control plane with explosives.

Interestingly, the US Government recently made an announcement that the next generation of GPS satellites (GPS III) will be launched without this capability.
posted by everybody polka at 8:03 PM on October 23, 2007


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