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Where Are the Customers?

The answer is on the way via wireless.

This story appears in the July 2002 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

E911 emergency services are finally beginning to dribble out aswireless carriers nationwide make it possible for emergencypersonnel to pinpoint your location via chips that communicate withsatellites and/or through triangulation. This is a necessary firststep before location-based services and marketing take off.

Right now, Samsung's location-enabled handsets are offeredby Sprint and Verizon for about $150, with service in pockets ofthe country. Nextel will launch a similar handset this October, andAT&T and Cingular will have handsets ready to coincide withtheir GSM network launches this fall. The FCC had mandatednationwide e911 service long ago, but carriers stalled and deftlyshifted costs to consumers. So far, their sales pitches focus onthe safety benefits.

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