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Airtel launches SMS service to track user location

Friday September 13 2013

An Airtel shop in Nairobi. Airtel Kenya offer has launched a text-based location service enabling customers to locate friends and family using an SMS short code. Photo/File

An Airtel shop in Nairobi. Airtel Kenya offer has launched a text-based location service enabling customers to locate friends and family using an SMS short code. Photo/File 

Airtel Kenya offer has launched a text-based location service enabling customers to locate friends and family using an SMS short code.

The service dubbed mLocator is a partnership between Airtel and Gecko Landmarks Ltd and will be available to all Airtel customers.

Airtel is the first mobile operator in the market to launch a locator service that uses landmarks that are locally well-known, such as buildings, parks, bridges and farms to deliver accurate location information.

Customers can access this service by sending a text message with the word ‘find’ followed by the Airtel phone number they would wish to locate to 30100.

The unique service will be available to its customers free of charge from now until September 30.

LOVED ONES

“This innovative and unique service that enables our customers to locate their friends, family and loved ones through SMS from their Airtel SIM card is yet another demonstration of our commitment to improving the lives of our customers through convenient and relevant mobile solutions,” Shivan Bhargava, Kenya managing director said in a brief to media.

User privacy on the service is protected adequately as one has to give consent to activate the location service request from the originator of the message request to locate them.

Customers subscribing to this service will receive regular updates on who they have enabled to locate them.

Osmo Korri, Chief Commercial Officer at Gecko Landmarks said, “We are proud to partner with Airtel to offer this important service that will greatly benefit customers’ safety and well-being.

REFUGEE UNITED

This service is currently in use in South Africa and Benin and we are excited to roll out this new technology in Kenya.”

Last year, Kenya Red Cross Society and Refugee United (RU) launched an online tracing service. The service is an advanced technology deployed to trace missing persons in disasters and in refugee registration.

RU is an independent, non political, non-religious NGO dedicated to helping refugees with missing family members and friends completely free of charge.

RU developed the online tracing tool and database at www.refunite.org or the associated mobile platform (WAP platform) and administers the database where users can register anonymously.