Wayfinder to launch off-board navigation in India

Wayfinder to launch off-board navigation in India
According to a company press release Wayfinder is “about to close a deal with one of the largest mobile operators in India and has already reached an agreement with one of the largest mobile phone distributors”. To make it possible in a country where digital maps are still at their early stage of coverage, Wayfinder has signed an exclusive agreement with MapmyIndia, the first Indian mapping portal. MapmyIndia will provide Wayfinder with access to its digital map data covering India. Wayfinder will start the services covering the entire country along with detailed city coverage of 20 major metropolitan areas initially and by year-end it will cover over 150 major cities.

In April alone 5.15 million mobile subscribers have been added in India, representing a total of 171 million subscribers. Nevertheless, Wayfinder will have to face some challenges in a country where the average revenue per mobile phone user (ARPU) is one of the lowest in the world. The more subscribers Indian wireless operators sign the lower their ARPU is; in the last quarter of 2006 it declined 6.2% to Rs.316, (US$ 7.8).

“Local telecommunication providers are currently facing infrastructure issues. They first need to improve their network before offering content such as off board navigation. Pricing is also an issue. End users do not want to pay for information they can get from another person in the street”, said Amit Prasad, founder and CEO of Indian based SatNav Technologies, a competitor of MapmyIndia, recently interviewed by GPS Business News (read here).

Thursday, May 24th 2007

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