Re: Any change in policy?
Not much to do with cheapskateness than with long roll-out times for relevant standards and appropriately certified gear.
ACARS exists and has been used in this precise case. I understand the main unit was switched off (burnt out? sabotaged?). A secondary unit was on but was just doing "pings". These pings are the signals we are talking about here.
I am not sure whether ACARS would carry on-board GPS information but it definitely carries telemetry.
There is also FAMS which is coming online.