Verizon passes mark for 911 call location

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Verizon Wireless, the number two US carrier, said on Friday more than 95% of its customers had phones capable of identifying their location when they call 911 for help.

US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations required that by the end of last year at least 95% of all wireless handsets be able to give emergency personnel the location of a 911 caller.

Verizon, Sprint Nextel, Alltel and US Cellular were some of the major providers that sought waivers, but the FCC has yet to act on the requests.

Verizon said about one-third of 911 call centres, known as public safety answering points, have upgraded their systems to be able to receive the location information from callers using wireless phones.

Verizon Wireless is a joint venture between Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group.

Sprint Nextel told the FCC recently that more than 84% of its customers had wireless phones capable of identifying their location. Alltel said it has reached 86.1% and expected it could take until June 2007 to comply with the 95% requirement.

Cingular Wireless, the largest US wireless carrier, and Deutsche Telekom AG`s T-Mobile, are using a network-based solution to locate callers that dial 911 for help. Therefore, they were not subject to the 2005 deadline.

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