Network independent location solution may speed integration
T-Mobile's Czech Republic business is having a look at a new way of implementing Assisted Global Positioning (A-GPS) services. The operator is trialling an IP based A-GPS system that can be intergrated directly into the the mobile network and communicates with a mobile terminal (equipped with an A-GPS ship) via an IP connection. T-Mobile is trialling the Siemens SX1 fitted with an A-GPS chip.
The current standardised version of A-GPS specifies that there must be alterations, often costly, made to the mobile network, in accordance with the 3GPP location services standard. This presents operators with a double whammy of equipping the network and getting enough comaptible phones with A-GPS chips into the market. The IP based version is currently going through standardisation specification within the Open Mobile Allicance (OMA). The OMA is expected to conclude that work by around the middle of this year.
Heinz Schmid, Executive Vice President Technology T-Mobile Czech Republic, said the IP version said that the technology had a "clear advantage" in that it meant that the oeprator could introduce location based services with "a reasonable investment."
Christophe Caselitz, President of Mobile Networks at Siemens Communications, said IP A-GPS would give the market for A-GPS based navigation services a "significant boost."
"These standards are essential if the terminal devices of different vendors are to be able to exchange data with all mobile networks", Caselitz said.
Operators have been convinced of the value of LBS for years but have balked at the cost of implementing truly accurate solutions, both on the handset and network side. A-GPS has solved some of the issues involved with buildings blocking satellite signals to a GPS receiver, but problems still remain, requiring opertors to take a dual-technology approach to LBS. A reduction in the network invesment required is considered essential by many observers of the market.