Tomtom FREE Lifetime Map Updates & Traffic Announced

Seehere for further information. It pertains to NEW units being introduced in USA in 2010.
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tt announcing free lifetime map updates for ease and q2 models

il link 2 the press release when i get 2 my computer. also means new models coming q2. no mention of free traffic yet. nor lifetime subscriptions on older models yet
You're late to the party MVL. DHN and I mentioned that one (and the traffic) pretty early this morning.:D
i may have missed that one. its different from the gpsr announcement as its free wo subscription and confirmed by tt. no direct tt announcement on traffic yet
oh i c it now. im hoping that gpsr is right and a traffic announcement is coming soon. maybes tt is doing one pnd and one teleatlas announcement per day like they did last october.
We were wondering where all the HD Traffic receivers intended for the x20 and x30 range had gone to, they have them in Holland and they should have been released a couple of years ago in Europe as the special accessory power cord contained a GPRS modem and SIM card.

I might be miles away from reality with this one, but my guess is the ship they loaded them on got lost and has turned up in America 24 months later! - Still if it offers better free traffic then thats a bonus although I doubt its based upon the GPRS idea due to running costs and data charges (but you can dream)

Probably more like the UK system where you purchase the receiver and its free to use for life as they have never charged subscriptions for the RDS-TMC service - Mike
I might be miles away from reality with this one, but my guess is the ship they loaded them on got lost and has turned up in America 24 months later! - Still if it offers better free traffic then thats a bonus although I doubt its based upon the GPRS idea due to running costs and data charges (but you can dream)

TT 2nd level tech support has already told me that PLUS/GPRS is being phased out. So I'm sure it'll be RDS-TMC or HDT.

I'm really really hoping that the HDT receivers end up in the USA. So I can keep my beloved 930.

I'll put up with a 950 or even a 740 for HDT, but it stinks to have a lower-end model just to get good traffic.
Currently, some of the members of the Brit forum are somewhat, uh, skeptical about 'Lifetime' equating to 'Free'.

Guess we'll all have to wait for more info.............

Understand that there will be more details shortly, as in less than 30 minutes ......
Okay, see the following...........
dhn wrote:

But what traffic? RDS-TMC or Traffic Plus or Live Traffic???

It could be any of them. They haven't yet announced any products for which it is going to be on. The point is that it will be bundled with the device.

dhn wrote:

1. For those of us still on a subscription (I think I have one more map to go) how will the lifetime 'merge' with ongoing subscriptions?

They haven't announced any merge or upgrade. The lifetime map product will be included with future product releases like the Ease. There currently isn't any path for people to "purchase" a lifetime product for an existing product. The "lifetime" products will be bundled with future releases.

dhn wrote:

2. While it's nice that there IS a Canada map store now, will lifetime subscriptions still have to go through the (convoluted) European (read: mandatory 20%VAT) servers?

Again, there is currently no way to "purchase" a lifetime product separate from a device. The lifetime product is included with newer models. However they did say they are getting closer to a solution to the VAT issues for people purchasing products within Canada.

So the bottom line is this. The lifetime traffic and lifetime maps are going to be bundled with future product releases (like the Ease which will get maps) and at this time they haven't announced any such product for other existing devices.

I asked why the press release was rather vague about the "cost" of the lifetime map product... why they didn't scream "this GPS comes with free map updates for life". Their answer was that they were trying to be transparent and to recognize that the "cost" of the "free" map updates was built into the cost of the device, and thus they didn't want to imply that it was "free"... rather "included". Another way to put it is that they are not saying that the TomTom Ease comes with "free" TTS... TTS is built into the price of the device, so it isn't really "free".

The above is a summary of a conversation between Tim Flight, the admin of the US based gps site,, and members of TomTom America at the CES that is going on in Las Vegas right now.

The questions you see posed by me were put by Tim to the TomTom officials.

Hope this clarifies some issues.....
These are the links to the official lifetime traffic and lifetime map press releases.

Key points:

From the map release:
- The lifetime map subscription will be bundled with new devices to be released in Q2-2010. As mentioned earlier that also means that new devices are coming Q2-2010. Earlier press coverage said the EASE was going to include the lifetime maps, but those releases appear to all be pulled. Per Tim at GPSreview (see dhn's post) and the LA Times (see here) , Tomtom is now neither confirming or denying inclusion of these subscriptions on the EASE.
- The other key point is that Tomtom has only said that the lifetime traffic and maps would be included in some new models, with no comment on whether it will be available at all to older models

From the traffic release:
- First, the release says "useful life". I believe Garmin's lifetime traffic has some similar legal caveat so the service isn't truly forever.
- Still, I'm really excited about this statement: Tomtom says the traffic will be through a receiver "that is innovatively designed into the device’s power cord." Tomtom almost never launches new hardware first in the US, so I'm near certain that mikealder is right, they're bringing the Netherlands HD traffic antenna to the USA. Specs are available from Tomtom here and the FCC approval here. This antenna has 2-way communication capabilities due to a built in GPRS cellular modem and SIM card, laying the full groundwork for American HD traffic. However, Tomtom has only committed to a LIVE traffic experience, including "regular drivers with GPS systems" which means it's better than RDS-TMC and PLUS, but not (yet) mentioning cell phone probe data, which means it isn't true European HD traffic.

I can think of two things going on here:
1) Vodafone may still hold some key patent on the cell-probe part of HD traffic, so Tomtom is waiting out the Verizon LTE rollout (30 cities by 2010) before Tomtom can launch HD traffic in the US. But they are getting the hardware out into the marketplace now, so that a "premium" HD traffic upgrade can be subscribed to later without any further hardware purchase.
2) Tomtom may have given up on cell-probe traffic in the USA. Between Airsage, AT&T, Google, and Verizon, there may have been too much technology locked up in patents and exclusive contracts that HD wasn't going to happen. So Tomtom may have decided to bring the antenna to the masses, in the hopes of having so many 2-way antennas out there acting as traffic probes that they won't need to pay a cellco for their probe info.

We'll just have to wait and see.
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You're forgetting another source of traffic MVL. Like Cydle, Tomtom could possibly use HDRadio traffic. Cheap to offer, still needs an antenna. I can't see TomTom offering any type of free traffic reporting that would entail significant ongoing out-of-pocket costs to TomTom. IMO, any 2-way cell connection at no additional cost after purchase doesn't make any sense. Who's paying the cell bill for life of the device?

TomTom will be discussing this today at CES, so maybe the clouds will clear a bit.
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Assuming this interview yesterday between GPSBusiness news and Tom Murray, Vice-President of Marketing for TomTom in North America, is accurate, then:

" The real-time traffic information ? from Clear Channel and INRIX - will be downloaded via a RDS-TMC module compatible with some existing and all future devices. ?This will be a paid option, but in some cases we will use these options to run special promotions with our partners that will offer these services bundled for free.?

TomTom: ?Price Erosion, But No Commoditization of the PND Category?
Do you think that TT doesn't have a clue (again) what their marketing strategy is??
There was a tt press release direct from TT on PR newswire that said traffic was going to be included on the EASE on Thursday morning, then it was pulled Thursday afternoon when the official statement changed to "I don't know".

So I think that TT is either internally confused, or accidentally said more then they want their competitors to know and is recanting.

I still can't believe "innovatively built into the power cord" is going to debut in the US without it arriving in Europe first, but that's always a possibility.

Perhaps Inrix or even AT&T is willing to pay the GPRS bill in exchange for the devices becoming traffic probes. It's really tiny bandwidth in the scheme of things, you could transmit an hour's worth of tracklogs in maybe 50kb, far less than the average iPhone youtuber burns in a second.
HD Traffic receivers built in to the power chord have been seen in Europe but only in Holland, they were released as accessories for the x20/ x30 ranges but never shipped to any other country AFAIK - Mike

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