updated 01:50 pm EDT, Wed September 24, 2008
Bell May Stall Phone GPS
Bell Canada may artificially attempt to drive customers to its own subscription GPS service, according to an alleged internal memo circulating online. The note would reportedly see the cellular provider deliberately slow down the GPS position lock and potentially reduce the accuracy of the position itself for built-in or otherwise non-Bell navigation apps, focusing first on BlackBerry Maps for the company's current BlackBerry roster.
Under this approach, the company would then tout its GPS Nav system as more accurate and encourage the smartphone owners to pay the company's monthly subscription fee.
Bell currently offers unlimited browsing and other services but often limits this to the default apps on each phone.
If true, Bell's move would signal an increased but not unprecedented attempt to control third-party apps, which in recent months have otherwise become more accessible in Canada through the iPhone and app-independent data rates. Verizon in the US has historically mirrored or been the inspiration for Bell's approach and itself regularly bars GPS access on software that doesn't tie into its own subscription navigation services, though the American company's ongoing Any App, Any Device initiative is expected to change this soon.
Bell isn't yet known to have commented on the apparent leak or the accusations.