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Telstra launches social LBS

04 июля 2008

Telstra Thursday launched a new location-based service (LBS) that enables customers to use their handsets to locate friends and family.

Called Whereis Everyone, the service's main feature allows subscribers to view the whereabouts of other users on maps sent to their mobile phone, or they can be alerted via text message.

"Once the service is activated on the handsets of friends and family, an automated alert will send an SMS giving their approximate location on demand or on pre-selected days and times," said Freddie Jansen Van Nieuwenhuizen, director of Telstra product management, in a statement.

The service uses Telstra's Assisted Global Positioning System (A-GPS), which relies on base stations, rather than handsets, to communicate with orbiting satellites which then provide the necessary location details.

This means that Whereis Everyone can be used by all Telstra subscribers, provided they are in an area covered by the operator's network.

"People can benefit in a variety of situations like checking the whereabouts of family members, co-ordinating meal times and activities, meeting up with friends in town or after work, or even seeing the location of a lost or stolen phone," said Glenice Maclellan, executive director of consumer marketing and channels at Telstra.

The service is also includes a number of options for subscribers who are concerned about their privacy.

"Consumers can control whether they wish to be located or not and users can make themselves invisible if they choose," said Telstra.

Whereis Everyone is priced at 50 Australian cents per look-up request, plus 30 cents for every location alert received.

Or, customers can pay A$2.95 per month for unlimited use, although a fair usage policy applies.

As more handset models come equipped with GPS, operators are starting to look seriously at driving new revenue streams by combining the capability with social networking services.

China Unicom in February partnered with geo-location based social networking provider GyPSii to offer services during this summer's Beijing Olympics.

Although the service is able to work using base stations where GPS isn't available, GyPSii last week announced a partnership agreement with satellite navigation device maker Garmin, which plans to enter the mobile market with its Nuvifone handset later in the year.

Furthermore, recent research by Nielson Online revealed that operators will need to leverage the GPS capabilities of handsets in order to exploit the potential of mobile advertising.

Источник: Total Telecom

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