RealTime IT News

Vodafone Hands Mobile Users Chance to Block Spam

Vodafone is to allow mobile phone subscribers to block information about their location - to stop users being swamped with next-generation spam.

Services based on the positioning of mobile phone users are in their infancy, but are expected to take off rapidly - and they include spam.

Operators have for some time provided emergency services with the location of a phone making an emergency call, but are poised to exploit this information commercially. They are tight-lipped about the services they will offer, but retailers could even send messages offering deals to passers-by. Not everyone will want these messages, however.

Vodafone currently allows subscribers to hide the identity of their mobile by dialling an additional code into their phones, and Vodafone product strategy executive Ian Germer said the company will introduce the same thing for location.

"There's a lot of opportunity to build services on the back of location," he said.

BT Cellnet last month launched a wireless application protocol-based service which allows users to locate the nearest cash machine by typing in a postcode.

This and other first generation services will be superseded by those which automatically know where mobile phone owners are by which cell - the area covered by a mobile transmitter - the phone is operating from.