Lifetime Traffic – Garmin? TomTom?
We’ve had some good indications that Garmin is just about to roll out a Clear Channel (FM, RDS-TMC) lifetime traffic subscription for $60. While this is still a hunch on our part– here is what we know. Over the past week or so we’ve had reports from multiple readers that they could not get their “$60 lifetime traffic offer” working properly. Which left us a bit confused… but now we might be putting the puzzle pieces together.
Of course Garmin did recently announce new models that come with a lifetime traffic service included, albeit advertising supported. Still, many existing traffic subscribers would be left feeling not so good about paying $60 per year for the service.
Back to the story, after the initial reports came in about the $60 lifetime traffic deal, we thought maybe people were just getting confused about the existing $60/year offer, or they might have confused the $60 lifetime traffic offer available outside the USA. But in each case the user was quite positive they had selected the USA traffic subscription.
But here is where we find the smoking gun. In each of those cases, the user reported that the activation code they received didn’t work, so they called support for assistance. They’ve been told so far that an update coming out soon should address the issue. But there is more…
Other users have called asking about the traffic subscription and have been told by Garmin tech support reps that they should perhaps hold off a few weeks renewing the subscription as there are some changes coming soon…
The $60 Lifetime offer doesn’t appear on the Garmin site now, but at least some support reps have been telling people that the lifetime offer went up a little too soon before the new codes started working.
Free Traffic – Garmin?
All of this seems to support the theory that Garmin will very soon be offering a $60 lifetime subscription to the FM traffic service here in North America. With NAVIGON pushing free lifetime traffic across most of their lineup, and Garmin offering lifetime traffic services as part of their newest lineup, this would seem to make sense.
Free Traffic – TomTom?
This then raises the question, what will TomTom do in response, if anything? Well, we might have a theory there too. See it was just about exactly one year ago today that the RDS-TMC receiver for TomTom devices started shipping. I purchased one the first day it became available– so in theory my subscription should be running out next week.
I’ve yet to receive any renewal notice. No where on my device does an expiration date appear. And the same goes for TomTom HOME and my account at tomtom.com. (For those diligently following, I’m not talking about the traffic subscription you might see in your TomTom account referring to the TomTom PLUS traffic service… this is different, and doesn’t seem to appear in your account.)
Nowhere do I find a way to renew my traffic subscription. Since the subscription is tied to the serial number of the receiver, and not the GPS, TomTom really wouldn’t have any way (that I can see) to tie a TomTom account to a particular receiver… I just pulled the receiver out of the box and plug it into my various TomTom devices.
Right now, I don’t even see a way for me to obtain the traffic receiver ID number even if there was a method established to renew the service.
We will likely know in a couple of days… Either my traffic service will expire without a way for me to renew (which wouldn’t be good), TomTom will pull off a magical method for renewing the RDS-TMC subscription, or the receiver will continue to happily receive traffic updates for what would seem to be a free, endless subscription.
We’ll keep you posted…