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Press Release

Press Release

September 5, 2018

Wireless Industry Announces Development in Improving 9-1-1 Location Accuracy .

Leveraging commercial technologies to better enable first responders in locating 9-1-1 callers

WASHINGTON – In a development to help save lives and enhance the safety of Americans, CTIA announced today that nationwide wireless providers AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon are adding new location-based tools with existing wireless 9-1-1 location technologies this year.

By integrating device-based hybrid (DBH) location technology solutions – similar to those used by popular commercial services, like ride-sharing and navigation apps – the public safety community can more accurately determine a wireless 9-1-1 caller’s location, particularly inside buildings.

DBH solutions use a combination of technologies and sensors—including satellite GPS and crowd-sourced Wi-Fi measurements— that can supplement wireless providers’ existing 9-1-1 network and device-assisted information to produce a higher-accuracy location, particularly indoors.

“Dialing 9-1-1 is likely the most important call you ever make, and the wireless industry’s adoption of DBH technologies will make it easier for first responders to find you indoors more quickly and accurately,” said Tom Sawanobori, SVP and Chief Technology Officer of CTIA.

Almost 200 million 9-1-1 calls are made from mobile wireless handsets each year, and the wireless industry continues to invest and innovate to improve wireless 9-1-1 capabilities as local 9-1-1 call centers are on the cusp of upgrading from decades old landline-based systems to Next Generation 9-1-1 systems designed for the modern, mobile wireless era.

In addition to producing higher-quality indoor location information, the benefits of using DBH for wireless 9‑1‑1 calls also include:

  • Offers nationwide coverage. DBH solutions for wireless 9-1-1 calls will be available in every American community where nationwide wireless providers offer service.
  • Enables widespread consumer use. DBH will be available with the most popular wireless operating systems, including Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS, covering the majority of mobile wireless devices sold domestically. Consumers will be able to use their existing DBH-capable mobile device with no special applications or user interactions to activate the technology when calling 9-1-1.
  • Eases integration for 9-1-1 emergency call centers. The adoption of DBH solutions for wireless 9-1-1 calls will not require Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) to install new equipment or software, interface to new location service providers, or incur additional costs.

Today’s announcement is one of numerous efforts that CTIA, the association that represents the U.S. wireless industry, and its member companies have undertaken to improve wireless 9-1-1 location information in partnership with leading 9-1-1 associations, APCO International Inc. (APCO) and the National Emergency Number Association (NENA).

The 9-1-1 Location Technologies Test Bed LLC is a testing environment for new technologies that are designed improve indoor 9-1-1 location accuracy, including innovations to determine a caller’s vertical location. DBH solutions have produced a reliable and accurate horizontal location in various types of buildings and across all morphologies during testing in the Test Bed.

CTIA is also leading the development of the National Emergency Address Database (NEAD), which will contain the verified street addresses of commercially-deployed Wi-Fi Access Points and Bluetooth Beacons. When combined with DBH solutions, the NEAD will further enhance wireless providers’ ability to provide emergency call centers with a dispatchable location for the 9-1-1 caller— recognized as the preferred data for indoor 9-1-1 location information by the public safety community.

About CTIA
CTIA® ( represents the U.S. wireless communications industry and the companies throughout the mobile ecosystem that enable Americans to lead a 21st century connected life. The association’s members include wireless carriers, device manufacturers, suppliers as well as apps and content companies. CTIA vigorously advocates at all levels of government for policies that foster continued wireless innovation and investment. The association also coordinates the industry’s voluntary best practices, hosts educational events that promote the wireless industry and co-produces the industry’s leading wireless tradeshow. CTIA was founded in 1984 and is based in Washington, D.C.

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