Airtel Kenya in partnership with Gecko Landmarks Ltd.has today launched a text based location service dubbed mLocator to enable customers to locate friends and family using an SMS short code.
Using landmarks that are locally well-known, such as buildings, parks, bridges and farms to deliver accurate location information, users simply send the word ‘find’ as a text message with the Airtel phone number they would wish to locate to 30100.
mLocator will be available to its Airtel customers FREE of charge from now until 30th September 2013.
According to Airtel Kenya Managing Director, Shivan Bhargava, “This innovative and unique service that enables our customers to locate their friends, family and loved ones through SMS from their Airtel SIM card is yet another demonstration of our commitment to improving the lives of our Customers through convenient and relevant mobile solutions.”
mLocator, currently in use in South Africa and Benin and has protected user privacy as one has to give consent to activate the location service request from the originator of the message request to locate them. Customers subscribing to this service will receive regular updates on who they have enabled to locate them.
Osmo Korri, Chief Commercial Officer at Gecko Landmarks said, “We are proud to partner with Airtel to offer this important service that will greatly benefit customers’ safety and well-being.
A few users praise Airtel for the service, which is a first in the country, but say its user private policy requiring one to allow others to locate him is disadvantageous. “How would you locate a friend who is kidnapped and barred from enabling the feature?”