These enable mobile operators, law enforcement agencies and the banking sector to capitalise on the incredible value of mobile location intelligence.
Location-based technologies offer MNOs the opportunity to deliver contextual services. As such services are specifically orientated towards the position of the mobile handset, it enables MNOs to provide services that are more targeted and effective.
Location Based Applications and Services
Location services cover a wide range of services, orientated at individual users or devices and vehicles. These can include:
- Fraud mitigation services for the card payment industry
- “Find Me” services e.g. nearest restaurant, coffee bar, ATM etc
- Location-based charging, for example ‘Home Zone’ or ‘Office Zone’
- Retail offers – dependant on user proximity
- Social networking services
- Visitor local information services
- Child find/locate services
- Route planning/navigation
- “Where am I” type information services
- Location-based games
- Vehicle and asset tracking
- Support for emergency services and Law Enforcement Agencies.
Such applications may be supported within a mobile operator’s network, or externally via third parties. In both cases, the application which depends on information obtained and processed by network resources is referred to as an LCS Client.
The location of the UE is defined in terms of latitude and longitude coordinates. The accuracy depends on the particular technique used to locate the mobile. Several mobile industry variants are currently deployed – GSM, UMTS, LTE 5G & CDMA. The method for ‘requesting’ a user’s mobile location and the resultant network generated messages are standardised, regardless of the location technique utilised.
The ability of a mobile network to establish the location of UE is essential to ensure incoming calls are ‘directed’ to the appropriate cluster or group of cells. Such clusters or groups are defined/known as Location Areas. To ensure consistent call management, mobiles continually assess and measure the radio parameters from surrounding / neighbouring cells and detect when moving from one cell area (LAC) to another, in close co-ordination with the radio access network and base station infrastructure. Using this information, it is possible to ‘triangulate’ the geographic position of a user mobile. There are three primary data sets that can be used to cost-effectively locate the position of UE equipment without significant overhead. These are:
- Cell ID
- Cell ID + Timing Advance (TA) (CITA)
- Cell ID + TA + Relative Signal Strength (RxLEV) (CITARx)
In order to capture the information required for determining the location of UE and to control the management of authorised requests from LCS client applications to access the data requires the deployment of two dedicated nodes in mobile networks: the Gateway Mobile Location Centre (GMLC) and the Serving Mobile Location Centre (SMLC).