updated 12:10 pm EST, Fri December 28, 2012
Commercial, public access to GPS competitor live in Asia-Pacific
China has turned on its BeiDou satellite navigation system across the Asia-Pacific region, with coverage spanning not only across China, but also over Japan and as far south as Australia. Commercial and public access to the network has been enabled, and follows successful trials on its already-launched satellite network.
The current network consists of 16 navigation satellites, accompanied by four experimental satellites, with global coverage of the BeiDou network expected to be available by 2020, according to China Daily. BDS spokesman Ran Chengqi hopes that the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System will have between 15 and 20-percent of the market share in China in terms of usage by 2015, and could reach 70 to 80-percent by 2020 domestically.
BDS was created as a response to the country's general reliance on the US-based GPS system. It is claimed that the BDS open service has a comparable accuracy to GPS, with positioning accurate to within 10 meters (32 feet) , velocity within 0.2m/s (0.4mph), and a one-way timing accuracy of 50 nanoseconds.