Cellphone GPS Services Find Their Way Into Market

3 of 4 major providers offer plans to aid navigation in service areas
By Hiawatha Bray, Globe Staff | April 19, 2006
The Global Positioning System devices that can help people navigate an
unfamiliar city or find the nearest pizza joint are moving off the
dashboard and into the cellphone.
Cellphones with location technology are already a hit in Japan and
South Korea. In the United States, millions of cellphones already
contain GPS technology by order of the federal government, which
sought to ensure that emergency workers could locate cellphone users
who place emergency 911 calls.
Now, three of the four leading cellphone providers are beginning to
widely market phones that include location-based services, or LBS,
which allow subscribers with GPS-capable phones to navigate from
wherever they are to wherever they want to go with the push of a few
buttons.
Sprint Nextel sold its first GPS telephone in 2002 but marketed it
only for use by truckers and other mobile businesspeople. "All of the
phones will have GPS capability in the future," said John Redman,
spokesman for Sprint Nextel Corp. of Reston, Va., the nation's
third-largest cellular carrier, which offers 30 GPS-capable phones.
Meanwhile, the most-popular cellphone carrier, Cingular, introduced
its first navigation phone in October. In January, Verizon Wireless
introduced a new Motorola Inc. GPS handset with software that can
generate driving instructions for a traveler in any part of the United
States served by Verizon. The company has since added a second GPS
phone made by LG Electronics of South Korea. It's all a part of
Verizon's plan to eventually introduce all its customers to
location-based services.
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