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 integrated directly into 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 phone 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 compatible phones with A-GPS chips into the market. The IP based version is currently going through standardisation specification within the Open Mobile Alliance (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 operator 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 operators to take a dual-technology approach to LBS. A reduction in the network investment required is considered essential by many observers of the market.
l Location system vendor CPS has found one home for its network based Matrix location technology.
Matrix is CPS's latest attempt to crack the market for supporting location based services. It is unusual in that it needs no additional hardware to be added to the network. This gives it a cost advantage over GPS, as well as the lead it takes by being workable indoors, as it needs no sight of a satellite. But (like GPS) Matrix does require an application to be installed in the handset or wireless module using the service.
Perhaps the easiest way to do this is to get in at the chip layer, which is what CPS has done with TTPCom, which is based in the same town as CPS. TTPCom has added the CPS Matrix location application to its tri-band GSM/GPRS ITM338 and ITM339 modules Chris Wade, Chief Executive of CPS said operators are currently "actively evaluating and selecting".
"The availability of these new Matrix-enabled devices offers more choice to the market and significantly lowers the cost of entry for end users seeking high accuracy location capability to support corporate and enterprise services," he added.
Stephen Larder, MD of TTPCom's module business said the Matrix l technology would add value to the modules, especially in comparison to embedded GPS modules.
"We are delighted to be able to enhance the functionality of our already popular module designs to enable new market opportunities. In particular, our Matrix-enabled modules address needs where previously the high cost, complexity and power-consumption of GPS-based solutions has greatly limited the adoption of location based applications."