Interestingly enough, the FCC is calling for the rule of having every single phone to support true GPS positioning by the time the year 2018 rolls along – as opposed to the slightly faster triangulation method that most phones utilize. Of course, true GPS positioning isn’t a problem for the hordes of smartphones out there on the market, even ones from a few years back. However, there are still many people who own feature phones or basic devices that lack the ability to triangulate their position via cell phones towers. Also included in the mix, the FCC mentions that VoIP-only handsets are also required to offer true GPS.
Now this isn’t a scheme for Big Brother to watch over its citizens, but rather, the ruling is being backed by the notion that it’ll aid emergency responders in pinpointing the actual location of 911 emergency phone calls. Naturally, it proves beneficial to those devices that offer true GPS positioning, but then again, there are still some obstacles with them – mainly because signals can be obscured if you’re indoors or in densely populated cities with a lot of buildings.
Granted that the FCC wants all phones to support it by 2018, there’s no say in what they’re going to do with all the other people who currently own devices that don’t pack a GPS chip. Plus, they’re not being slammed with some sort of deadline to upgrade to a device that supports it. In any event, the FCC believes that 85% of cell phone owners will be using a GPS capable device by 2018 – so either way, we'll be in a good position by then.