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U Mobile powers Waze Beacons in SMART Tunnel, First Telco in the World

Malaysia 4G Telco, U Mobile, has partnered with Waze and SMART Tunnel to make GPS connectivity possible via Waze Beacons for all drivers commuting through the world’s longest dual purpose tunnel.

U-Mobile-Waze-Beacons-SMART-Tunnel-gps-navigation

L-R: Jasmine Lee, Chief Marketing Officer, U Mobile; Mohd Noor Mohd Ali, Chief Operating Officer, SMART; Kelvin Sim, Country Lead, Waze Malaysia; and Woon Ooi Yuen, Chief Technology Officer, U Mobile.

According to U Mobile, all drivers with the Waze app, including non-U Mobile customers who use the SMART Tunnel, no longer have to worry about getting lost or taking the wrong exit in the area, thanks to the installation of Bluetooth-enabled hardware devices known as Waze Beacons.

Waze Beacons enable seamless connectivity and undisrupted navigation even in areas where there is limited GPS signal reception through the emission of wireless signals that guide navigation apps. To ensure undisrupted navigation in the SMART tunnel, drivers simply have to enable their Bluetooth connections on their devices. As of today, almost 240 Waze Beacons have been installed along the 5.2km road tunnel.

Jasmine Lee, U Mobile’s Chief Marketing Officer and a frequent commuter in the SMART Tunnel, shares that this new feature, installed just before the Movement Control Order (MCO) came into effect, will make the drive in the tunnel much more convenient. “U Mobile is a firm believer in unleashing the unlimited potential of technology, be it 5G trials, 4G network expansion or service innovation. This latest partnership with Waze and SMART Tunnel has made U Mobile the first telco in the world to power uninterrupted GPS navigation in a tunnel. With Waze’s Beacons technology, all mobile device users, regardless of which telco service they are subscribed to, will now be able to leverage on the full features of Waze uninterrupted throughout the tunnel.”

“Waze has always been about more than just giving people driving directions – we’re about solving transportation challenges and making roads better together. With 30,000 commuters using the SMART Tunnel daily, we’re happy to collaborate with U Mobile and SMART to ease traffic congestion and reduce drivers’ hesitation and confusion caused by signal loss,” says Kelvin Sim, Waze Malaysia Country Lead.

Gil Disatnik, Waze engineer and Global Lead of the Waze Beacons programme adds, “We are excited to bring the Waze Beacons programme to the SMART Tunnel, the very first double decker tunnel in the world to be fitted with Waze Beacons to provide seamless navigation to commuters in Malaysia. Tunnel safety is a very important topic and with better visibility, as well as traffic flow into, through and out of the tunnel, we can help to ensure safer road conditions for all. We look forward to expanding the Waze Beacons programme to other areas in Malaysia and across Southeast Asia.”

“With the Waze Beacons installed in the SMART Tunnel, our users’ travel experience will become smoother and more convenient as they will enjoy uninterrupted GPS navigation and are able to share real-time information that may translate to updates on traffic conditions and proposed directions. Users will also be able to get updates on traffic jams, road closures or accidents that may have happened inside the tunnel and its surroundings, enhancing drivers’ safety as well,” says Mohd Noor Mohd Ali, Chief Operating Officer of SMART.

To use the service, all Waze users (regardless of Telco) in the SMART Tunnel will be prompted to turn on Bluetooth connectivity on their device to enjoy uninterrupted GPS navigation.

U Mobile customers subscribed to Unlimited Mobile Internet (UMI), U28, P38 and P48 plans will continue to enjoy free data for Waze, whilst those on unlimited data plans such as GX30, GX38, GX50, GX68, P79, P99 and P139 will also enjoy Waze without ever having to worry about their data quota.

About Kugan

Kugan is the founder of MalaysianWireless. He has been observing the mobile industry since 2003. Connect with him on Twitter: @scamboy