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Vodafone snaps up Wayfinder

Hopes sat nav won't prove a dead end

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Vodafone has taken another step towards providing services, rather than just connectivity, by completing its acquisition of Swedish sat nav software supplier Wayfinder.

The purchase was proposed back in December, and with the deal's completion Vodafone will own more than 98 per cent of Wayfinder. The remaining shares will be acquired through compulsory acquisition, leading to Wayfinder being delisted from the Nordic Growth Market.

Location-based services are seen as the next big thing by the mobile industry. Having failed to make significant amounts of money out of selling music, television programs, films or games (though some networks have seen success with the latter), pushing stuff to customers on the basis of their location is about all the network operators have left.

Basic route finding is hard to sell with Google giving away Google Maps Mobile, but Wayfinder is promoted on the basis of turn-by-turn directions, along with a database of more than 3m points of interest and some online collaboration tools so you can share your route with friends and family.

Points of interest are all very well, but it's not useful to know where the nearest chemist is unless you also know if it's open - information which Wayfinder reckons it can provide, and Vodafone probably feels it can charge for, one way or another. ®

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