Wireless provider Interop Technologies recently announced that MetroPCS, a flat-fee unlimited wireless communications service, has agreed to purchase the Interop Over-the-Air Device Management Solution 3.3 for commercial deployment in U.S. markets by the end of 2007.
The purchase allows MetroPCS to manage their customer accounts over the air instead of manually, as well as offering other advantages.
“First off, they’ll be doing their phone provisioning through this solution, so when a new customer activates their service, the phone will be preset with subscriber information such as telephone numbers and network settings,” said Damien Sazama, vice president of marketing and product development for Interop Technologies. “Also, it will upload what’s called the preferred roamer list (PRL) to the phone, which actually gives the phone intelligence on how to work when it is outside the MetroPCS calling area.”
MetroPCS’s purchase of the technology is a sign that wireless providers are serious about expanding their service and customer relations. Based mainly in large American cities, it owns licenses that cover a population of around 140 million, but it only has around 3.5 million subscribers at this point. The merger of these two technologies is meant to ultimately increase that number by improving features directly dealing with customer support in a complicated and ever-changing world like wireless.
“In a carrier’s roaming organization there are always renegotiated roaming deals, and so that PRL list is not sent just one time to the phone,” Sazama said. “Six months later they could get a better roaming deal in, for example, Alabama, and we’ll need to update their subscribers’ handsets, and the OTA platform is the vehicle they’ll be using to do that with. It prevents the customers from having to come in to a service center and have their phone hooked up to a PC. It’s basically done over the air and the customer doesn’t even realize the phone is being updated.”