Google teamed with T-Mobile US and technology company RapidSOS to bring Android Emergency Location Services (ELS) to the US, a move it said will make it easier for emergency responders to locate callers.

Through the partnership, Google said device location data for Android will be provided to emergency services when users place a call. It said 99 per cent of Android devices running version 4.0 and above are compatible with the new service without the need to install a new app or update software.

Mark McDiarmid, T-Mobile SVP of technology, told The Wall Street Journal the operator will combine its location data with Google information before forwarding the information to emergency services.

RapidSOS will send Android location information directly to emergency service call centres in markets where its software has been adopted.

Improving accuracy
ELS was first introduced in 2016 and is live in 14 countries. It uses a combination of GPS, Wi-Fi, mobile network and sensor data used by services including Google Maps to provide public safety officials with more accurate location information than is supplied by operators alone.

Tests of the technology conducted in the US earlier this year showed it slashed the average caller location radius from 159m to 37m.

The move comes as operators and technology companies seek to better pinpoint caller locations as people increasingly dial emergency services from a mobile phone rather than a landline.

Statistics from the US National Emergency Number Association show nearly 240 million emergency calls are made in the country each year, as many as 80 per cent of which are from mobile phones in some parts of the country.

The US Federal Communications Commission gave operators until 2021 to develop systems which can pinpoint caller location within 50m at least 80 per cent of the time.

Google rival Apple already took steps to improve location accuracy on its platform, announcing in June it would integrate RapidSOS technology into its iOS 12 software update.