Vodafone navigation unit at dead end

Just over a year ago, monster carrier Vodafone showed just how serious it was about the navigation space, by spending €26m on the purchase of Swedish navigation and location-based services firm Wayfinder.

A lot has changed since then, and the market for paid for navigation services has been disrupted by the recent arrival of Nokia’s free mapping service, not to mention the availability of Google Maps and associated services.

As a result, the world’s biggest carrier by revenues has decided to shut down Wayfinder, and will instead look for new partners to provide navigation services, most notably to its Vodafone 360 social networking platform.

“In the last six months or so the business model for providing navigation services to consumers has changed dramatically,” a Vodafone spokeswoman said. “It’s almost become a hygiene factor to offer navigation. So it no longer made commercial sense to have it as a paid for service.”

Vodafone also has a partnership with Tele Atlas and the company has confirmed that it will continue to provide navigation services, which it sees “as a core part of the business,” it just won’t develop them in house.

The carrier said that it had responded to market conditions quickly. “So now we’re looking at who we are partnering with, whether it be one or many companies, to deliver a services mash up between navigation and the connected address book.”

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