EU to deploy eCall service


Mobile industry body the GSM Association (GSMA) has partnered with the European Commission for the deployment of an in-vehicle emergency call service known as eCall across Europe.

GSMA chief executive Rob Conway met with European Commissioner for Information, Society and Media Viviane Reding to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on behalf of the global mobile industry.

eCall is an emergency call generated either manually by vehicle occupants or automatically via in-vehicle sensors in an emergency situation. When activated, the eCall system establishes a voice connection with emergency services.

It sends data including time, location, direction of travel and vehicle identification, to speed response times by the emergency services.

The European Commission believes that a service such as eCall can save up to 2,500 lives every year, reduce the severity of injuries by up to 15 per cent and reduce emergency response times by up to 50 per cent in rural areas and 40 per cent in urban centres. 

The MoU creates a framework for the introduction of eCall and is designed to encourage co-operation between vehicle manufacturers, telecommunications operators, the European Commission and EU member states, together with other relevant parties such as the insurance industry and automobile clubs. eCall, like emergency calls, will be offered free of charge to users.  Vehicle manufacturers and service providers will be able to offer additional commercial services to supplement eCall.

Said Conway: “eCall is a hugely beneficial and logical step forward in EU policy-makers’ attempts to reduce fatalities on European roads. The GSMA fully supports the European Commission’s MoU and, by becoming a signatory, we are formalising our members’ commitment to participate with other stakeholders in deploying the eCall service.”

For operators, eCall can be one of the many features supported by the Embedded Mobile Initiative, a programme driven by the GSMA with the aim to accelerate the adoption of wireless connectivity in a wide range of devices. In addition, operators will be able to offer new value added services, such as in-car mapping applications.