Verizon Wireless is making its application programming interfaces (APIs) available to developers wanting to create enterprise-level mobile applications that operate through gateways provided by companies like LOC-AID Technologies.

LOC-AID uses a proprietary gateway technology that lets application developers use network data from carriers like Verizon to develop location-based applications for mobile users, said Rip Gerber, LOC-AID’s president and chief executive officer. By using a network-centric approach in cooperation with carriers, location-based services can offered to users of older phones, not just newer devices that feature GPS chips, he said.

“Most of the talk-around location [services] that you see in press today have been cool apps on expensive devices — it’s got to be a smartphone, and the user has to download an application ... and then they can get location information by that GPS chip in that expensive phone talking to a satellite up in the sky,” Gerber said.

Drawbacks to GPS-based location applications include the fact that they drain battery life from a device more quickly, they do not work well indoors, and only a small percentage of mobile users have a smartphone and take the time to download a location-based application, Gerber said. By using the network-based location information all carriers have, the LOC-AID gateway allow developers to create applications for “any device, any network and at any location,” he said.

Of course, network-based location information does have limitations, particularly in rural areas where there are few cellular sites, making it difficult for triangulation to be very accurate. However, for most enterprise-level applications, location accuracy does not have to be as precise as is desired for mission-critical applications such as E-911, Gerber said.

Some location applications using this technology include asset tracking and mobile marketing. In addition, financial institutions hope to use the technology to significantly reduce their costs associated with fraud detection and identity theft by checking to see if the location of a credit-card user and the user’s mobile phone are in the same area, Gerber said.

In addition to Verizon Wireless, Sprint previously announced an agreement with LOC-AID, and other Tier 1 wireless carriers are expected to disclose similar arrangements in the coming weeks, Gerber said.