NTRA published a statement on its website explaining: “NTRA Executive Director Dr. Amr Badawy said the decisions allow the import of cars equipped with GPS and navigation programs. NTRA, he added, informed the Customs Authority to act accordingly. The new rules also permit the import of GPS-enabled mobile phones, computers and other devices with civilian applications provided that NTRA authorizes the type of machines based on its criteria and procedures.
Meanwhile, Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) services can only be authorized by NTRA according to specific regulations and in coordination with the concerned security authorities. AVL systems are currently tested in trains and ambulances. The detailed measures of the decisions will be shortly announced on the NTRA website, Dr. Badawy concluded.“
Until now mobile phone manufacturers willing to sell handsets with GPS were forced to deactivate this feature, it was the case for the iPhone 3G and several Nokia handsets such as N96 and N85.
This decision is good news for local wireless operators, manufacturers of handsets and GPS devices and map data providers. Tele Atlas, NAVTEQ and Orion (a Middle-Eastern map provider) are already offering map data for the country. As an example, Tele Atlas maps cover approximately 25,000 kilometers of roads and more than 10,000 Points of Interest.