Sprint introduced a pair of location-based services that will enable its customers to access driving directions and roadside assistance through a simple wireless voice call. The new services are available upon request to most Sprint customers subscribing to Roadside Rescue, which provides assistance for motorists, or to customers who use their Sprint PCS Phone to dial 411 to reach Sprint PCS Directory Assistance.
"Wireless services allow customers to be mobile, and these location-based services can identify their locale in order to get the directions, help or services they need while mobile. Ultimately, we envision a host of new location-based applications which will complement our existing voice and data services and dramatically simplify and enhance the way people connect through wireless technology," said Joe Averkamp, Director of Business Development for Sprint.
With the new location enhancement of these two services, customers looking for help or information when the unexpected happens won't be out of luck if they don't remember the last mile marker or street sign they passed. Instead, they can ask Roadside Rescue dispatchers to identify their locations to send help, or ask directory assistance operators to pinpoint their position for turn-by-turn directions from wherever they are to wherever they want to go. The level of precision in locating the customer will depend on a number of factors, including the Sprint PCS Phone being used by the customer and the customer's phone preference settings. Customers should continue to dial 911 in any emergency situation.
Location-based enhancement will be offered on an opt-in basis for no additional charge for the two current voice applications, Sprint PCS Directory Assistance (411) and Roadside Rescue. Pricing will remain $1.25 per directory assistance call (plus airtime) and $4.00 per month for Roadside Rescue subscription. Billing methods and prices may change in the future.
Sprint's directory assistance services are provided through an agreement with INFONXX, the world's largest independent provider of directory assistance and enhanced information services. INFONXX, based in Bethlehem, Penn., provides local and national directory assistance and customer-focused solutions to Sprint.
In the future, Sprint anticipates additional opt-in location-based voice services and location-based data services as well. Possible applications include mapping services to provide detailed maps, traffic information and points of interest such as nearby ATMs, gas stations and restaurants; and weather applications to supply current information and forecasts even when users are uncertain of area ZIP codes. Sprint is also exploring location-enabled applications for business needs, such as workforce management and field force automation.