FRAMINGHAM (07/17/2000) - Cell-Loc Inc., one of several companies that has developed technology for use in pinpointing the origin of mobile phone calls, yesterday announced an agreement with Sprint Corp. in Westwood, Kan. The deal will let Cell-Loc install equipment needed to support the location service on 2,000 cellular tower sites nationwide.
But Lew Turnquist, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Calgary, Alberta-based Cell-Loc, said the company still needs another 2,000 tower sites to support a full deployment of its service in 42 U.S. cities.
Cell-Loc is in active negations with other major tower owners and leasing companies, he added.
By 2002, the Federal Communications Commission is requiring the U.S. cellular industry to provide geographical-location capabilities for determining where calls are coming from to within 100 meters. While that's partly so callers who need emergency assistance can be found, potential business uses include managing fleets of delivery vehicles and providing traffic and map information to salespeople and other mobile workers via wireless Web sites.
Companies such as Cell-Loc plan to use the equipment they install on cellular towers to derive location information by triangulating the signal emanating from a caller's handset. The information could then be furnished directly to the user or sent to a Web site or to telecommunications carriers, which are looking to provide location capabilities to their customers as an extra-cost service.
The deal with Sprint's tower operating subsidiary allows Cell-Loc to start nationwide deployment of its technology, which is supposed to be able to determine the location of wireless devices to within 50 meters on analog cellular systems and to within 15 meters on digital networks. The installations will start in the Austin, Texas, area, and should be completed by year's end, Turnquist said.