REAL PAN­DORA’S BOX

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Carsguide Confidential - Twit­ter: @RMTBlack­burn

COULD bill shock be­come the next bug­bear for car own­ers?

Brands are trip­ping over them­selves to in­te­grate the in­ter­net ra­dio app Pan­dora into their cars, with Hyundai this week mak­ing the ser­vice avail­able on the up­dated i30, join­ing a host of other brands, in­clud­ing Ford, Mazda, Holden and Subaru.

But mu­sic stream­ing uses data and if you’re us­ing it on the fly then you’re chew­ing up your mo­bile phone plan.

Pan­dora direc­tor of au­to­mo­tive part­ner­ships Rick Gleave says the app streams at 32 to 64 kilo­bytes a sec­ond, depend­ing on your hand­set’s set­ting.

At 32 kbps, this adds up to about 14 megabytes an hour.

Gleave says Pan­dora users typ­i­cally stream in their cars for only six hours a month, which at the lower speed is just 84MB a month.

But that es­ti­mate seems con­ser­va­tive. If you’re us­ing Pan­dora on a two-hour round-trip com­mute, you’ll use about 560MB a month at the lower rate. Monthly mo­bile phone data al­lowances start at about 500MB for the cheaper $40 plans, while an iPhone 6 on a Tel­stra $85 plan gives you 1GB . And any­one with a teenager knows once you go over your limit, you pay through the nose.

It is a po­ten­tial mine­field. And it’s also a prob­lem for car mak­ers, who could find them­selves field­ing calls from an­gry cus­tomers who won’t take kindly to be­ing told that ex­ces­sive data use is a telco prob­lem.

Talk about open­ing Pan­dora’s box.

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