REAL PANDORA’S BOX
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.