Latin America 1.2 12.7
Africa 0.1 2.8
TOTAL 998.3 2,201.1
Source: Gartner (June 2009)
Gartner analysts said LBS market dynamics vary by region. For example, North America is the largest market due to mobile carriers' strong efforts in navigation services and family-safety solutions. In western Europe, navigation is currently the most used application, followed by local search and friend finder'. There is still no significant uptake of safety applications.
Japan will continue to see steady growth as GPS has been required by law in mobile phones since 2007. In the Asia Pacific, during the summer Olympics, location services were for the first time offered in China which is now an advertising-based solution and free to the user.
The competitive landscape will change and most mobile carriers need to alter their approach towards offering LBS and dealing with developers, said Zimmermann. Subscriber growth will hinge on free', disregarding data charges, services. Mobile operators' initiatives to open up the application programming interface (API) to third-party developers will help them compete against other players in the market and will also be beneficial to the different parties involved, down to the end-user.
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