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Egypt lifts ban on GPS devices

Five year ban on GPS-enabled mobile phones, computers and cars to be lifted by telecoms regulator

Mobile phones with software that enables users to pinpoint their location using satellites will be allowed to go on sale in Egypt following a decision by the country’s telecom regulator (NTRA) to lift a ban a five year old ban on the devices.

Many smartphones – including Apple’s 3G iPhone - now come equipped with GPS tracking as standard. But in Egypt such devices have either had the functionality disabled or been banned from sale.

And only those with a licence from the security authorities were legally entitled to use GPS devices.

A statement posted on the NTRA’s website said that GPS-enabled mobile phones, computers and other devices with what it described as “civilian applications” would be allowed, “provided that NTRA authorises the type of machines based on its criteria and procedures”.

NTRA executive director Dr. Amr Badawy added that the decision will also allow the import of cars equipped with GPS and navigation programs.