Loopt launches its service with Sprint

Loopt launches its service with Sprint
Loopt, a silicon valley start-up company offering geo-located social networking on cell phones today announced the availability of its service on Sprint, a first major US wireless carrier. Loopt’s mobile application uses the GPS capabilities on select Sprint phones to facilitate real-world interaction between friends and put an end to frustrating missed connections. Friends are now able to share their location and status messages, send proximity-based messages and view geo-tagged photos and content on-the-go.

Loopt will be available in the coming weeks on more than 25 Sprint and Nextel phones for $2.99 per month, plus data charges.

This agreement with Sprint is a good news for the whole US mobile industry. Privacy concerns have been so far limiting the extend of mobile social networking applications using GPS. To date Loopt was only available on Boost Mobile, a fast growing but small wireless operator owned by Sprint (4 million customers) and targeting teenagers. In a recent interview with GPS Business News, Tasso Roumeliotis, CEO of Wavemarket - a Loopt competitor developing child tracker and friend firnder applications - was echoing the industry concerns about the privacy problem. « The classic problem of a 14 years old girl, who has a location activated handset and the wrong person get access to that. That scares the operators, scares the government, the regulator, and scares everybody with social networking ». It seems that the lobbying done by Mark Jacobstein, executive vice president for corporate development and marketing at Loopt - who labels himself Chief Privacy Officer – has beared is fruits with Boost’s parent company. Read our previous interview with Mark Jacobstein here.

Tuesday, July 17th 2007

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