By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Nextel: The iDEN carrier requested a waiver from the FCC's requirements and expects a commercial ALI-capable iDEN handset by Oct. 1, 2002. Nonetheless, the carrier said it believes it can reach the FCC's ultimate 2005 mandate that 95 percent of handsets in the subscriber base must be ALI-capable.
Sprint PCS: By Oct. 1, 2001, throughout its network, the carrier promises to launch its hybrid handset/ network-based solution, called network-assisted GPS. Like other hybrid handset/ network solutions, it requires consumers to buy handsets with a special software upgrade and chipset to take advantage of location services.
VoiceStream: The carrier plans two solutions: a hybrid handset/network-based solution and a less accurate network-only backup for legacy phones. The strategy was developed in response to the FCC's response to a waiver request in which the carrier said it could not meet accuracy requirements for handset-based solutions by 2001.
VoiceStream's hybrid solution is called Enhanced Observed Time Difference of Arrival (EOTD).
In exchange for deferring the 50-meter standard, the FCC accelerated the GSM operator's handset deployment, required a network backup component that enables all handsets to be located, and required a gradual improvement in ALI-handset location accuracy.
By Oct. 1, 2001, 50 percent of activated phones must be ALI-capable, accurate to 100 meters for 67 percent of calls and 300 meters for 95 percent. By March 31, 2002, all activated handsets must be ALI-capable, and after Oct. 1, 2003, VoiceStream must provide accuracy of 50 meters for 67 percent of calls made by ALI-capable handsets and 150 meters for 95 percent of calls.
By Dec. 31, 2001, VoiceStream must also implement a Network Safety Solution accurate to 1,000 meters for 67 percent of calls from legacy handsets.
VoiceStream anticipates launching in limited markets in fourth-quarter 2001, deploying fully in first-quarter 2002, and meeting the 2005 deadline.
Nokia, for its part, is "devoting a lot of resources to improving EOTD so we can offer it to VoiceStream, and we will have handsets available," said Leo Fitzsimon, director of regulatory affairs.
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