Full blown Location Based Services rolled out to mass market

< German mobile telecommunication service provider E-Plus is set to launch Europe's first full scale location based services, ahead of the next round of 3G services.

Initially, the "Standortbasierte Auskünfte" (location information services) will be free to subscribers of the E-Plus Wap service and will offer route planning, restaurant and cinema guides.

The service has been developed by software vendor Cellpoint and content provider Airflash who claim that the majority of GSM operators in Europe can use their solution.

Lars Persson, CEO of CellPoint Systems, said, "What is important is that this is available now and doesn't require companies to either upgrade handsets or add additional hardware, unlike many other solutions."

Person claims the service is accurate to up to 50m and works best in tight cell densities of major cities.

Location based services are viewed by many as the "Killer application" that will fund 3G expansion, with analyst Ovum predicting the sector will generate more than £14bn a year in revenues by 2006.

Commenting on the announcement, Janine Young, press officer for UK mobile phone operator Vodaphone, said, "We are also working on location based services for GSM, that will launch in the UK within the next six months."

Neither Vodaphone nor E-Plus would discuss pricing. However, a recent Mori survey found that around a third of mobile phone users would pay up to £6 per month for location based services similar to the E-plus offering.

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