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Idea Cellular rolls out SIM card-based fleet tracking service

LiveMint logoLiveMint 18-04-2017 Yuvraj Malik

New Delhi: Idea Cellular Ltd, which is in the process of merging with Vodafone India, has rolled out a SIM card-based fleet tracking service as it looks to bolster its offerings in the enterprise space.

The solution is developed in partnership with MapmyIndia, a Delhi-based provider of maps and tracking services, and rolled out to select clients in the pilot stage, a top official at the cellular network said.

It essentially allows logistics companies (and those employing logistics providers) to track their cargo carriers using Idea SIM card. The SIM card—installed on an active mobile phone—sends data to MapmyIndia’s platform which allows real-time tracking of cargo.

Typically, geographic tracking is done through GPS (global position tracking) devices connected to the Internet.

Idea’s tracking solution works without Internet and even when the SIM is installed on a low-cost feature phone.

“From our consultation with customers, it emerged that about 60-70% of cargo shipments happen through third-party vendors that may or may not have GPS trackers installed, and for the end-client to install them each time is not feasible,” said Paresh Shetty, president- strategy and planning at Idea.

To be sure, telecommunications companies have the capability to track SIM cards (installed on a phone which is switched on) but only to the extent of knowing the nearest BTS (base transmitter station) tower it is drawing signal from.

Through its partnership, MapmyIndia has developed the back-end platform that fetches data from delegated SIM cards and places it over its own maps. The outcome is that the user (enterprise clients in this case; fleet operators) can see the position of its truck plotted on MapmyIndia maps.

Shetty explained the company has designed a system wherein Idea will offer SIM cards to customers, who have to activate them with a certain credit balance for each trip every time. Once the trip is concluded the SIM card will get deactivated automatically.

This helps companies re-use the SIM cards for different truckers. Further, the platform is programmed to send alerts to the customers in case of unwarranted stoppages or accidents and can be customized as per requirement.

The service is charged for the duration of use of the SIM card and the revenue is shared between Idea and MapmyIndia, Shetty said.

Idea has so far signed four clients, including Sterlite Technologies and sister companies Hindalco Industries and Grasim Industries—since January, when the pilot started.

“There are at least 15 more customers in the pipeline. We will roll-out in full scale in 30-40 days once some technical things are firmed up,” Shetty said, adding that the service may find use cases beyond the logistics industry.

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