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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…

19 Responses

  1. What about free lifetime traffic from MSN? I’m still on my free three-month trial period so I have a little bit of time for it to all shake out.

    Paul - September 11th, 2008
  2. MSN is already offering a lifetime traffic option.

    Tim - September 11th, 2008
  3. You’re right, it does for $130. But it appears that the soon-to-be-released nuvi 7x5T series offers FREE lifetime traffic updates from Clear Channel (FM, RDS-TMC) so I’m wondering if MSN would match that offer.

    Paul - September 11th, 2008
  4. I don’t expect MSN to offer a match in the near future.

    gatorguy - September 11th, 2008
  5. I guess I need to amend my comment on MSN traffic and the possibility of it being available for free. Seems that Garmin and MSN are considering it.

    gatorguy - September 17th, 2008
  6. Garmin announced 6 devices with life-time free traffic in exchange for subtle ads that are location or context relevant. Can’t wait for a coupon to provide me with more value as long as it is focused on the things I want.

    MicMac - October 9th, 2008
  7. MicMac – Of course you are probably a little biased in your enthusiasm since you work for the company (NAVTEQ) that Garmin partnered with to get that traffic service. 😉

    Tim - October 9th, 2008
  8. I see that the FM traffic page is showing the free lifetime traffic offer right now:


    Tim - October 23rd, 2008
  9. Bah, not available in Canada.

    Guillaume - October 24th, 2008
  10. Tim, has your TomTom traffic expired yet? Did you end up renewing somehow?

    Jeff - November 6th, 2008
  11. Jeff, my traffic subscription should have expired by now however it continues to receive traffic updates. TomTom does now have a renewal process whereby you purchase an update within TomTom HOME, that update gets downloaded to the device, and then the device updates the traffic receiver. However my device is now saying the subscription will expire in 16 days. So something is a little off with the expiration date.

    Tim - November 6th, 2008
  12. Has your traffic subscription expired yet? I’m leaning toward the TomTom, but I like the idea of the Garmin lifetime traffic.

    Brad - December 5th, 2008
    • So, is TomTom offering lifetime traffic now for $60? Has your sub expired yet (mid/late January 2009)?


      Brad (a different one) - January 22nd, 2009
      • TomTom hasn’t announced any plans for a lifetime traffic plan.

        Tim - January 22nd, 2009
  13. I checked the link above for the free lifetime traffic product, but it’s not available anymore. Bah. :(

    CJ - June 15th, 2009
  14. Am I the only one confused on GPS ‘lifetime traffic’. and how it works. I’m shopping for a GPS and like the idea of the traffic coverage that Clear Channel offers but having a real prob;em finding out which Garmin units offer it and what I will need to do to activate it. Can someone help me?

    Joseph - July 28th, 2009
  15. What Joseph said…

    I know Garmin offers lifetime traffic (via Navteq) with some of their models (755t,765t, etc.), but given the small coverage area by Navteq and the fact that Clear Channel offers more cities near me, including WHERE I DRIVE THE MOST, it would be nice to know if I buy any given Garmin gps, whether or not I will have to purchase more equipment to receive TTN (CC) instead of Navteq.

    Sorry if the above sounds convoluted. I am simply getting frustrated trying to sort out all of the mishmash of options and requirements for a car gps. I may simply just continue to use a map. Seems like too much headache to even get enough info to make a reasonable choice of a gps.

    Kerry - August 16th, 2009
    • P.S.

      Yes, I contacted Garmin about this and got pretty much the same non-answer as I have seen posted either here or on other forums. Hard to get anything specific from Garmin on anything!

      Kerry - August 17th, 2009
  16. WARNING”” For all member who have MSN ..If you go to the MSN web site it read that EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1 2012 the MNS traffic will not be available no more.some of you will be able to get a refund for the life time traffic.it also depende at the date that you had your membership..So if you purchase a new GPS and as the MSN on it..January 1 2012 will stop working. so if you decide to purchase from MSN your lifetime membership will end on the above date..

    Steve - June 5th, 2010

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