Why Warid’s Location Based Service Matters And How It Can Be Improved

friend-finder.jpgWarid has recently announced 2 location based services: friend finder and place finder (i.e. local search). These are pay-per-use services (Rs.3+tax). Using SMS or MMS. you can find the location of another warid cell phone customer or do a local search for a point of interest such as bank. Service is limited to major cities.

This is an interesting first step towards location based services (LBS) for the telecom industry. In US and EU, navigation and related data services are growing rapidly and account for a major portion of network operator’s revenue. The rules and privacy norms are quite different in developed countries and sharing of real-time location is subject to a lot of scrutiny. Warid is simply relying on per-request permission to work around the privacy concern. However I do not find this a good approach — it can be quite annoying to get such messages left and right.

In the US, LBS is a hot area with lots of startup acitivty. Companies such as brightkite, loopt and whrrl have received tons of VC money to develop all kinds of fancy mobile and web-based applications. Recent inclusion of GPS in 3G iPhone has created even more buzz!

Warid has taken a different and relatively simple approach where the application is based on back and forth sms or multimedia message (MMS). The SMS solution is pretty much the same which Google offers in the US and which works extremely well for quick searches. The MMS option is for the map display – limited to a few major cities. Since there is no mention of GPS requirement, Warid must be using triangulation algorithms to find the approximate location. See my previous post on Google maps and how it works.

Although there are many limitations of Warid’s LBS this still matters because this is the first attempt for location based service. I can assure you that this is just the start and we will soon plenty of other implementations around the buddy finder concept and LBS in general. There are so many creative ways to use this service, especially when combined with a personalized website and higher resolution maps.

Facebook comments:


  • Just as i saw it’s AD, I was like cool.

    Yea, it’s cool move from Warid, let’s see the reaction of other mobile operators.

    Figures crossed 😀

  • ok let me know if my understanding is correct: i want to know the location of my friend so I will send a message to my warid and will let me know which area he is at.

    if this is correct then aint it privacy breach? why would i share my location with anyone?

  • Haris, actually it will wait for an approval from your friend, so you send an sms to warid asking location of your friend, your friend receives an sms which says that subscriber of number 0321xxxxxx (Your number ) is wanting to know location.
    The friend has to reply with a yes to allow warid to tell you his position, if he replies a no or does not reply you don’t get his location.

  • thats good.

    are going to earn form approval sms as well?

  • This shouldn’t be just restricted to approval thing. As far as i think, it should be more like following.
    1) You subscribe to this service and you been asked to give some FnF numbers.
    2) They all should once join you
    3) and until, you stop this package, you can always track their location.

    As far as i see, this can help out in finding missing people somewhere or locating your dear ones when they go away from homes angrily.

    One More Thing, They should also let you know about the previous location if the current location is not reachable.

    All the cellular companies receive the TOWER INFORMATION from where the person is calling, so i dont think that its gonna be difficult for all to implement.

    My ideas are copyrighted TOWER OWNERS!!! 😀

  • Javaid Ghani

    The flow sounds rather silly. If I have to pay Warid Rs. 3 + tax to send a message to a friend and my friend has to reply in order for me to find out where he/she is… shouldn’t I just sms my friend directly and avoid the hassle and fee?

    Very cool technology, poor usage of that technology. There is a deficit in creativity.

  • Here is a scenario:

    A wife wants to know the position of her husband who does not want her to know where he is. Now if we declines the request then the wife gets suspicious 😉

  • @Haris: turn your phone off if you dont want anyone to disturb you (remember the scene from eyes wide shut?).

    I’ve heard that when car tracking technology was introduced in Pakistan, it caused quite a few divorces :)

  • @Babar: Now when she knows that she can find out the location if she finds that the cell is switched off then it will again create suspicions.

    moral of the story: married people better go away from warid 😉

  • any response to work-flow complaint of Javaid Ghani?

  • Good point Javaid.

    Also I can ask people for directions instead of asking a company whose sister is Wateen. Belch.

  • Well this is start of LBS in Pakistan and if it will not be treated with care it might slow down speed of the future growth of upcoming LBs services.

  • to add to Javaid’s point: if my friend wants me to know his position he will tell me in reply to my sms and that will be more accurate than what warid will tell.

  • One View: CDA & Warid can use this venture to help people memorize the correct names of the places instead of bogus ones like near the bakery etc.

    Second: Yes, It’s better to directly ask the friend instead of warid.

    Third: People should have be given the option that F&F’s should automatically reply as they are your friends and family members.

    For married people: husband’s can justify there location to avoid any potential late comings (if they are really in office :p) otherwise warid connection would be like axing there own feet :D.

  • I sort of missed the part where author was supposed to write about “….And How It Can Be Improved” though I sort of did get the “Why Warid’s Location Based Service Matters”…

  • Inayat-ur-Rehman

    Dear Sir,
    I belong to Balakot Hazara.We have a piece of land of about 8
    kanals containig permanent and semi permanent structures.Moreover, in
    our village Hassa, we don’t have Warid tower affecting the service
    in some of the areas.I request you to visit the site for tower
    erection and service betterment point.


    Village Hassa,Tehsil Balakot.
    Cel# 03018177598

  • salam
    plz any one tell me… how can i find the location of the sim of the other person…. plz tell me the way… how can i find…
    give me detail how can i set other person to find location with out asking permission again and again….
    thanks my mail id for reply: bilalmaqsoodi@gmail.com

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