No it is not using 3G to get the maps. The only part of the maps that comes over 3 G is the live traffic overlays and the satellite views when turned on. The maps themselves are huge - for example for North America they are 7GB. Doing that over 3G would be cost prohibitive and time consuming. Because of their size they need to be downloaded and installed via USB. Updates for your existing licensed region should be free for 4 years. You only have to pay to purchase maps for regions other than those that were initially installed/licensed. See the attached screenshot for an example from my InControl Navigation Account.
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