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BeiDou Navigation Satellite System first to provide SMS service

China’s BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS), which is being projected as a competitor to the US’ Global Position System (GPS), is the first to provide regional short message communication service to its users, an official whitepaper here said on Friday.

Through 30 satellites, BDS offers free services to users across the world, said the official whitepaper titled “China’s BeiDou Navigation Satellite System in the New Era”.

BDS is the first navigation satellite system to provide a regional short message communication service (SMS) for authorised users, it said.

BDS is a global navigation network alongside the US’ GPS, (Global Positioning System) Russia’s GLONASS and the European Union’s Galileo.

India too is building its navigational system called the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), with an operational name of NAVIC.

Some countries like Pakistan, perhaps its military which is closely aligned with China, are using BDS. China is also promoting its use in the countries signed-up for its mega Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

For the Chinese military, the BeiDou provides an independent navigation system especially for its missile launches reducing dependence on GPS which could deny access to certain areas in times of conflict.

The BDS could also serve as a backup if GPS were to go down entirely.

BDS spokesperson Ran Chengqi said while releasing the paper that it has good cooperation with other networks.

The cooperation between BDS and other global navigation systems, including GPS of the United States, Galileo of the European Union and GLONASS of Russia, has made excellent progress, Ran said.

It has been deeply integrated with emerging technologies such as big data, the internet of things, and artificial intelligence, fostering new business forms based on BDS. In 2021, the total output value of China’s satellite navigation and location-based service industry reached 470 billion yuan (about USD 64 billion).

BDS has been widely applied in daily life through applications such as smartphones, vehicle terminals, and wearable devices.

In 2021, 324 million Chinese smartphones supporting BDS services were shipped, accounting for 94.5 per cent of the country’s total, the white paper said. PTI

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