If you ever need to track your friends location within Nigeria via your mobile phone, Starcomms has just made it easier. Thanks to the availability of GPS-enabled phones among other factors, the LBS (location-based services) market is set to boom in Nigeria.
In case you don’t know, location-based services are deployed in most parts of the world by telecommunication companies such as AT & T and allows subscribers track the whereabouts of their friends, family members etc.
StarTrack, the new service allows subscribers (Locators) on the Starcomms network to know where their friends, family, team and loved ones are via SMS at any given point in time, but only with the consent of the subscribers being located (Locatees).
With the aid of StarTrack, subscribers would be able to keep up with their buddies wherever they are – in school, at the club, the cinemas, in the mall or at their office and hook up with them.
How does it work?
To use StarTrack, subscribers are required to register for the service by sending an SMS in the following format: REG & name to 33391, and then add friends via SMS in the following format: ADD & name & Starcomms number to 33392.
When you request the location of a consenting person, you will receive an SMS with a written description of their recent location, including time and date.
To locate loved ones, subscribers can send in the following SMS: FIND & name or number to 33392. This service uses the mobile network locations of the cell sites. The subscriber’s location would be indicated as the respective cell site location as in the vicinity of the cell site address with time & date of the Starcomms phone radiating last when the query was sent.
Subscribers can also request for the complete list of those that can be tracked by sending SMS: LIST to 33392 while the list of those that can locate a subscriber can be requested for by SMS WHO to 33393.
Starcomms’ Chief Commercial Officer, Mr. Tushar Maheshwari said:
“We know that subscribers cannot be everywhere all the time. But the need to be in close touch without necessarily interfering in each other’s activities makes StarTrack the service of choice. Lovers can catch up with each other without calling; parents can track children without any exchange of voice or SMS. The service is apt for folks always on the go who at the same time want to safeguard their feelings. We speak their language”.
As the first telecommunications operator in the West African sub-region to commence this service, Starcomms has shown its strength as an innovative company.
For one thing, this could usher in a new and exciting market for telecommunication companies. For another, it could mean subscribers being pestered with location-based advertisements on their mobile phones.
Since location is becoming more and more important to many consumers, Starcomms might want to explore displaying location-targeted ads using SMS to deliver mobile coupons or discounts to mobile subscribers who are near restaurants, clubs, cafes, cinemas.
The LBS market doubled in 2009. According to ReadWriteWeb,
Despite a 4% decrease in mobile device sales, Gartner forecasts the LBS market to grow from 41.0 million in 2008 to 95.7 million in 2009. Revenue, too, will increase from $998.3 million in 2008 to $2.2 billion in 2009.
My hope is that we will soon start seeing location-based mobile applications such as Foursquare and Echoecho from Nigeria that would make it much easier to know where your friends at by asking: where are you?
Could 2010 be the Year of Local Content?
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