This is essentially the same thing as wiretapping, which has been a legally regulated capability for telco's for decades. Keep in mind, that wiretapping also 'transmitted' location information, but since the location information was known a priori by the sender and receiver (of the tap), then it could be omitted from the communication channel (zero information gain).
When internet usage boomed, governments also regulated that ISPs must have the capability to 'tap' your internet connection (also from home), which is why ISPs are now regulated to log everything that users do for several months.
Cellular wiretapping is essentially a combination of voice, location, and data monitoring. The location information is encoded by which cell towers acknowledge your IMEI (and GPS receiver coordinates). Nothing has changed in the least about who has control over the infrastructure (except here). Users of Free Software on communication devices can at least have SOME control over the backdoors - i.e. who can turn on your GPS receiver remotely or force a firmware upgrade over the air. Unfortunately, most of the important software that has anything to do with communication is still proprietary, and locked (encrypted?) in the baseband processor stack on most mobile phones and wireless communication devices. For older GSM mobile phones, some users have the option to swap out the baseband processor stack and run OsmoconBB.
Until cellular voice / data / location information can be sufficiently anonymised there is really little difference about which technology Big Brother uses to monitor you. Keep in mind that you (the sender / receiver) can often be tied back to a specific IMEI number or MAC address (and even communication pattern).
ifconfig hwaddr 00:11:22:33:44:55 <=> iwconfig hwaddr 00:11:22:33:44:55 <=> imconfig imei AA-BBBBBB-CCCCCC-D ?