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 September 26, 2000
Major Wireless Manufacturers Unite

 The world's three largest mobile phone manufacturers today announced that they have set up a forum dedicated to developing global interoperability between mobile positioning systems. Ericsson, Motorola and Nokia have founded the Location Interoperability Forum (LIF) to achieve the goal of offering location-based services worldwide on wireless networks and terminals.

Location-based services allow mobile users to receive services based on their geographic location or position. Although there are a number of mobile positioning systems in use throughout the world today, they lack interoperability. The aim of LIF is to produce a common view on positioning technologies and system solutions to meet the emerging service requirements such as information retrieval and mobile commerce applications .

LIF will define, develop and promote common and ubiquitous location service solutions. Defining simple and secure access methods will enable entry to location information from wireless networks and terminals irrespective of their underlying air interface technologies and positioning methods. LIF will also give recommendations about how interoperability and testing of location services can best be implemented. The first applications based on the LIF recommendations are expected to be available already starting in 2001. The LIF members anticipate that location based services will roll out both in 2nd generation as well as 3rd generation networks and terminals.

"Standardizing capabilities in wireless networks in order to deliver interoperability between services is necessary for the future provision of personalized safety and convenience services for consumers, network operators and service providers worldwide," said Janiece Webb, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Motorola's Personal Networks Group. "The creation of this forum is significant as we strive for an end-user environment in which critical services or much-desired conveniences really follow you wherever you go."

"Being both personalized and location-specific, location-based services are emerging as some of the most valuable functions of the Mobile Internet," says Stig Rune Johansson, Vice President in the Mobile Systems Division at Ericsson. "LIF will be an important force within the industry to stimulate and actively contribute to open standards for mobile location services that are valid globally, independent of air interfaces, terminals, applications or supplier."

"The greatest benefits of Mobile Internet can only fully be enjoyed when location information is combined with mobility. This consortium will make it possible to offer consumers personalised and lifestyle oriented services. Open interfaces act as a catalyst for the growth of the Mobile Information Society. All parties will benefit from the work of LIF, and we believe that there is great commercial potential in location based services," says Anssi Vanjoki, Executive Vice President, Nokia Mobile Phones.

There are numerous areas in which location data can be utilized. For example, a user can review the menus of nearby restaurants over WAP, receive advertising according to personalized profiles or find out if there are any friends around in town. In addition to lifestyle services, location information also plays a significant role in public safety and emergency services.

The vision of the Location Interoperability Forum is to have representation from a mix of network operators, equipment manufacturers and service providers. LIF has today opened the website to provide more information about the initiative.