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eCall emergency calls need to reach call centers without delay (Photo: EU, ADAC)

Deutsche Telekom is ready for eCall, executives of the German telecommunications group say.

ECall, an automatic in-car emergency calling system, is likely to become mandatory on new cars in Europe by 2015. The EU Commission has stepped up pressure on the EU's 27 member states to take the necessary measures to implement the required technology.

Deutsche Telekom says its networks give priority to all European emergency calls through what it calls a "fast lane" system.

"We're not just monitoring all mobile network cells in Germany, but also those that belong to our subsidiaries in Western and Eastern Europe," said Georg Broemmelhues, who heads Telekom's Master Srevice Management Center (MSMC). This division handles the group's monitoring operations.

In addition to expectations that eCall will save lives, Telekom also sees the implementation of the service as an opportunity for the auto industry to boost connected-car initiatives. "Automatic emergency calling from the car will provide a further boost to the trend to connect cars to the internet," predicted Reinhard Clemens, CEO of Telekom's corporate-customer division T-Systems. He added, in a press release, that the availability of eCall will make it easier for carmakers to offer other in-car services.

In late 2010, Telekom tested its own networks as well as those of its roaming partners for their readiness for eCall. It sent three test vehicles on a tour of 16 EU member states, where they sent a total of 15,000 emergency calls.

"All signals reached the emergency call centers of the countries without delay,"Deutsche Telekom said.

ECall has been debated by the automotive and mobile phone industries for years, but progress toward EU-wide implementation has been bogged down in discussions about costs, technology, cross-border standards, regulations and other issues.