REPORT: Only 60% of phones can relay location info during an emergency call

Photo: Dan Kitwood/ Getty Images.

About 40% of handsets in Australia will not be able to provide location information to emergency services during a triple zero call.

iTnews has reported that the department of communications’ preferred location gathering technology, called advanced mobile location or AML, currently only works on Android smartphones, which covers 60% of devices.

A tender has opened for a telco company to provide this capability and take over the triple zero service for the mobile age.

“The opportunity to improve location services for 60% of mobiles will be pursued while the department works towards similar capabilities for the remaining 40% of mobiles,” a department spokesperson told iTnews.

“The department is pursuing discussions with other handset operating system providers about using either AML or their own handset-based solutions. This is a similar course of action to other countries which have already implemented AML.”

Telstra currently runs the triple zero system in a deal worth $22 million each year that’s due to run until 2032. But the federal government last year indicated it wanted the service upgraded to an internet protocol-based (IP) system that’s better suited to a population now making emergency calls mostly from mobiles, as well as improved location tracking.

Telstra currently uses a cell-tower based location system called Push MoLI, according to iTnews, which can be imprecise in rural areas where a cell area can be as wide as 70km to 100km. AML can reportedly improve the precision up to 4000 times.

The department stated that AML was selected over other methods as it doesn’t require “significant” cost for the telcos or the triple zero operator, and was endorsed by the Australian national emergency communication working group.

Read the full story at iTnews.

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