Owners of the latest Apple iPhone will be able for the first time to get directions from two global navigation satellite systems — American GPS and Russian GLONASS.

Apple became the first among cellphone manufacturers outside Russia to have added GLONASS capability to Assisted GPS and cellular location finding in its iPhone 4S model, Russian media reported on Thursday. Experts said the use of a two-signal receiver would enhance the reliability and accuracy of the system. “GLONASS /GPS twin system receivers will capture data from twice as many satellites and will, therefore, provide more accurate and fail-proof precision location, especially in cities or mountains, where terrain may block signals from some satellites,” said Nikolai Testoyedov, head of the NPO-PM company, which makes GLONASS satellites.

GLONASS is to achieve global coverage in the next few months following the launch last week of the last of 24 satellites needed to cover 100 per cent of the earth territory.

Russia has threatened to slap an additional 25 per cent import tax next year on communication devices that do not support GLONASS.

Under a 2007 accord, Russia agreed to share the GLONASS signal with India. India will be the only country to have access to the military segment of the GLONASS system, which will enable the Indian military to greatly improve the accuracy of its land-, sea-, air and space-launched weapon systems. The two countries have also signed a deal to jointly manufacture in India GLONASS/GPS receivers and other navigational equipment.

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