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Emergency services will automatically receive caller’s coordinates

Russian mobile operators may be obligated automatically transfer coordinates of callers if they call to emergency services. The appropriate proposal has been sent to the government by GLONASS Union President Alexander Gurko. A similar scheme has been realized in the new Accident Emergency Response System ERA-GLONASS: in this system coordinates of the road accident transmitted to rescue services in the same time with a signal about the accident.

Alexander Gurko suggests implementing the same method in cellular networks citing the foreign experience: in January 2015 Federal Communications Commission in the United States established requirements for mobile operators to improve the accuracy of determining of the location of the caller to emergency services, including indoors. As described in the roadmap concerted with US operators, in the next six years operators will be able to provide the caller's location to emergency services "911" with an accuracy of 50 m for 80% of calls. The mobile networks will be upgraded with systems which allow determining a floor and a number of flat or office of the caller.

"In accordance with the law of the Russian Federation "On Communications" operators of mobile telephone communications are obliged to provide to emergency services information about the location of user equipment, which were carried out with a call or send a message about the incident" - said in a letter to the Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin. – "The regulations for determining the location of the user equipment have to be established by the federal executive authority in the field of communications. At present, these regulations are not established by Russian Ministry of Communications."

Gurko suggests starting the developing regulations for determining by operators location of callers to emergency services as soon as possible through coordination of efforts of the Ministry of Communications, Ministry of Emergency Situations, Ministry of Transport and GLONASS Union.

In the Ministry of Communications noted that such project is already underway.

- Currently in the process of development and approval of the legal acts in the field of communications for the creation and operation of "System 112", including the regulations for determining the location of the caller with a mobile phone, - said to "Izvestia" the official representative of the Ministry of Communications Dmitry Zakharov. - Documents are in various stages of readiness; some of them have already been approved and coordinated with the operator community and government agencies, including the Ministry of Emergency Situations. All of them will be mandatory for telecom operators.

However, the regulator is not going to produce as stringent requirements as were produced for American cellular companies.

- The analysis of the incidents shows that in most cases for emergency services is sufficient the accuracy of determining of the caller's location which is technically practicable in mobile networks - said Zakharov. – Generally, the problem is to determine the location of victim's mobile phone on the highway or in a far country area, rather than in a big city indoors. Therefore, such ultra-high accurate location requirements will not be mandatory for telecom operators.

Cellular operators reservedly comment the idea suggested by Gurko, making it clear that the implementation of the new requirements, even in a relatively mild form - without precise positioning indoors, is a lot of job.

- We do not know about the initiative of GLONASS Union. It needs a thorough and comprehensive analysis, - says VimpelCom spokesperson Anna Aybasheva. - Positioning of subscriber units requires to process massive amounts of data from tens of millions of people in real time, which surely will require a modernization of infrastructure of telecom operators, and, as a result, would entail additional costs.

MTS said they would cooperate to the implementing of determining the location of the caller, expressing the hope that the necessary costs will not completely imposed on the operators. 

- We understand the social importance of this task and are willing to participate in the discussion of the proposed solutions and the possibility of its implementation, the development of common regulations and standards, - said Alexey Merkutov, a specialist of MTS Department of Public Relations. - We endorse a systematic and transparent approach with real deadlines and with funding from all parties.

MegaFon have not commented on the situation.

Non-commercial Partnership for Development and Use of Navigation Technologies (GLONASS Union) unites telecom operators, Internet companies and other organizations working in the field of navigation technologies.