More accurate and advanced forms of positioning services are being introduced to Korea by mobile phone carriers, capitalizing on the Global Positioning System, or GPS, which is based on 24 satellites owned by the U.S. Department of Defence.
Conventional locating services relied on transmission stations, thus their precision was measured in kilometres. Now, mobile carriers have turned to the man-made constellation that can pinpoint locations to within 50 meters.
If the missing person – a child, a senior citizen or, indeed, an errant lover – has a mobile phone equipped with the system and the phone is turned on, he or she can be found, mobile companies said. The new services can also provide mobile subscribers with more detailed and precise information on the fastest routes to their destinations.
Mobile service providers in Korea say they plan varied applications utilizing GPS: the provision of restaurant, shopping and other entertainment location information for example, or automatic reporting of automobile accidents to insurance firms.
KT Freetel launched a beefed-up positioning service, Angel i, on February 1. The company said it combines GPS and transmission centers; handsets come with Qualcomm MSM 3300 chips, enabling subscribers to trace the location of a handset to within 50 meters. Parents worried about their children and children concerned about aged and easily confused parents are target customers, the company said.
SK Telecom, the largest mobile carrier, said it will start providing similar services during the first half of the year. The company is also preparing “mobile security services” which can connect handsets to an alarm at a security service company. SK Telecom said it will join with S1 Corp., a security firm, to provide that service.