As consumers become more aware of new mobile applications such as downloads
and mobile messaging, and as more affordable high feature mobile phones become
widely available, CDMA operators are racing to differentiate their offerings
by launching new data services. In addition, operators are migrating their
subscriber base to higher bandwidth networks that can support these applications.
To support such sophisticated service offerings, operators need to seek ways
to effectively manage their subscribers’ devices. With the mass recruitment
of subscribers, a simpler and more user friendly provisioning process is required.
subscribers are forced to personally configure their own handsets or spend
copious amounts of time with customer service professionals to input
parameters required to access new mobile data services, resulting in poor customer
experience and high cost of customer care. With the mass recruitment of subscribers,
a simpler and more user friendly provisioning process is required. The optimum
solution is to manage the provisioning of new services non-intrusively without
requiring the customer to visit a retail center, or even make a single phone
call. With the emergence of standards in providing over-the-air (OTA) provisioning,
operators can now offer a solution that enhances the subscriber user experience.
covers the services and activities related to identifying a new subscriber
on the network, registering the subscriber and ensuring that their
devices are configured for access to the latest services. These activities
that span from the operator control center to subscribers’ remote handsets
are classified as device management. Services may range from voice calling
services to newer data-driven services such as downloads and photo messaging.
Traditional device management requires significant customer involvement creating
a significant roadblock to new service adoption.
Consider user scenario number
1 (see graphic below). Joe gets excited about the new picture messaging service
that his operator is advertising so he purchases
a new camera phone. The shop attendant transfers his phone service to the new
handset. Joe believes his new phone is enabled for voice calls AND all the
new features and services supported by the handset. Once home, he takes a picture
of his son with his new phone and tries to send the picture to his friend.
He pushes the Send button and receives an error message: “Service Not
Activated on the Network.” He immediately calls customer service and
requests that picture messaging be added to his subscription. Customer service
tells Joe his new service will be activated in 15 minutes. Joe waits patiently.
After 15 minutes, he gets the same error message. Frustrated, he calls customer
service again. This time, the customer service representative is perplexed
because his account is already activated for Multimedia Message Service (MMS).
The customer service representative asks Joe to review some of the handset
settings and realizes that his phone needs to be configured with MMS parameters.
Joe is given a series of parameters to enter. Joe manually configures his phone
with these MMS parameters. Voila. Now Joe can finally send picture messages.
the same case where over-the-air device management is deployed in user scenario
number 2 (see graphic below). Joe buys a new handset and turns
it on. The network automatically detects the new handset, notes its capability
and immediately provisions the user for the new picture messaging service.
At the same time, the system automatically transmits, over-the-air, the handset
parameters into Joe’s phone. By the time Joe finishes taking his picture
and clicks the send button, his handset is ready and the network recognizes
him. With one click, Joe gets a message, “Would you like to initiate
subscription to this picture messaging service now?” Joe answers “yes” and
immediately proceeds to send his son’s picture to his friend.
scenario 2, the user naturally discovers the new service, and is introduced
to the service at the appropriate time and is automatically signed up. The
operator avoids the cost of customer support, enables its subscribers to increase
their service usage, and provides an excellent user experience to their customer.
operators are starting to use OTA device management to improve the user experience
for new services while at the same time, containing the cost of
customer care. In the US, one of the six major operators is using OTA device
management to bring to market their 3G services. By using the IP-based open
IOTA standard (IP over-the-air), they are seamlessly entering service parameters
onto their new 3G subscribers’ handsets for both voice and data service
initiation. By streamlining these tasks to its command control, this operator
found a cost effective and efficient way to migrate their subscriber base to
the next generation network.
Aside from improving service initiation processes, OTA can be used by the
operator to improve the overall service quality. The operator can identify
problems in subscribers’ devices remotely, as well as to identify gaps
in the network through collection and analysis of diagnostics data such as
RF strength, logging information, etc. Such information can provide the data
necessary to build out a good quality network.
OTA provisioning allows the operator to increase retail distribution channels
from company-owned outlets to non-traditional points-of-sale such as online
stores or superstores by offering out-of-the box provisioning of voice and
data parameters. When a new user buys a new phone, the minute he turns on the
phone, the network identifies the new phone activation and proceeds to provision
The ability to identify a phone remotely also means that the operator can
now start to build a rich database of user phone capability. By knowing each
of its subscriber’s phone capability, the operator can proactively promote
relevant services. Such targeted promotions can result in higher adoption of
revenue generating services, while containing marketing campaign costs at the
Another feature of OTA device management is its ability to upgrade handset
firmware, either to deploy new services or to repair software defects in the
handset. This allows operators to deploy the latest software and supported
services on old handsets in the field, without requiring subscribers to undergo
the burden of replacing their handsets. OTA repair of critical defects in the
device helps operators to avoid expensive handset recalls, bad publicity and
lost revenue due to affected services. OTA firmware upgrade promotes a quick
and widely distributed solution fix. This way, end-users are oblivious to the
change and they remain unaffected by any application altercations.
Lastly, with SyncML compatible OTA device management applications, subscribers
can get the benefit of accessing SyncML-enabled applications such as address
book, and file management. An example of this feature use is automatic file
and photo back up and storage.
Fortunately, with the emergence of standards in providing over-the-air provisioning,
cost effective, simple provisioning solutions can greatly improve customer
care. Improved customer care and ease of use with data services will ultimately
result in increased revenues for operators. End users want their service maintenance
to be as automated as possible and the availability of invisible yet reliable
provisioning is an important element in overall customer satisfaction.
About the Author
Mark Hopper is the Director of Product Marketing for Mobile Products for Openwave. He is currently responsible for managing the global product marketing team for all mobile product lines; mobile infrastructure including media download, provisioning and location. Mark also directs the development of company market requirements for the mobile infrastructure business unit including product strategy definition, requirements analysis, and pricing.
Mark joined Openwave in 1998 and has served in several capacities including Director of Sales, Director of Product Management, and Director of Product Marketing.
Prior to Openwave, Mark was a founding member of AuraVision Corporation, a multimedia chip and software company for video and Internet applications. He served as VP of sales and marketing for AuraVision and was instrumental in Broadlogic’s acquisition of the company. Before AuraVision, he was North America sales and marketing manager for New Media Graphics corporation.
Mark received a BSEE from Villanova University in Pennsylvania, PA.