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mLocator – A text based location service for Airtel Customers, How it Works

Airtel unveiled a text based location service dubbed ‘mLocator’ sometime back in collaboration with Gecko landmarks LTD. Since then, mLocator hasn’t been as popular as we’d thought but still it provides a service no other operator has come up with. Mobile based services are increasingly gaining popularity by day in Kenya as subscribers look for more efficient ways in managing their daily lives; I’d say, operators took up the challenge seriously and in time, hence the emergence of Bimamkononi and more alike services. I am not such a fan of mLocator, I rarely need it hence doesn’t use it that often, however, who knows when that time will come. It’s definitely one of its kind in this segment considering its uniqueness and deserves some appreciation especially for those who need it or have used it at some point.

According to Airtel Kenya’s Managing Director Mr. Shivan Bhargava, mLocator is a must have service for its subscribers especially in circumstances of crisis like that of Westgate mall. The service allows Airtel subscribers locate friends and family members through a short text message from an Airtel SIM card, he added. No one was expecting an incident such as that of Westgate mall as those of whom friends and family were victims caught unprepared and in disbelief. It was equally difficult to locate unaccounted family members or friends during that period even for those who were not directly affected by the terrorist act, something mLocator would’ve done effectively. In brief, mLocator allows subscribers locate their friends and family members without necessarily having to call them. The service was free at the time of launch but now attracts a small fee on every request made.

Here is how mLocator works;

  • Airtel subscribers need to create a new text message and type ‘FIND’ followed by the phone number i.e. FIND 073000000 then send to 30100
  • Subscribers can as well insert a nickname by adding it after the phone number i.e. FIND 073000000 Ken.
  • To cancel, create a new text message and type STOP followed by phone number i.e. STOP 073000000. Without a phone number, all locating rights of others and yours will be cancelled.

Commands associated with mLocator service

  • LIST – Those who can locate you and who you can locate
  • YES – Consent response to allow others locate you
  • HIDE – Others cannot locate you for 24hrs
  • UNHIDE – enable location requests.
  • SOS people with location rights on you
  • Others include OK – an OK message to people with location rights on you and HELP for a short description of the service.

Internet enabled phones can use an application instead.


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