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For CDMA Technology, what is a PRL and OTAP?


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The Preferred Roaming List (PRL) is essentially a mini database that is stored inside a mobile phone that contains information about the service provider and cellular system.  For more information see:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preferred_Roaming_List

Over The Air Programming (OTAP) allows information to be transfered from the cellular system to the mobile device (CDMA iPack).   If you have a Verizon handheld cellphone, you may be familiar with the *228 OTAP service code to arrive at a menu of phone options.  The NRG CDMA iPack uses *22899 as the default OTAP code (which can be found in the SDR phone programming window).  When you "Initialize" the CDMA iPack (from the logger keypad or SDR), the OTAP process is intiated. For more information see:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Over-the-air_programming

OTAP must be performed in a HOME network to properly Provision the CDMA iPack.  During the OTAP process, PRL information is also exchanged from the cellular system to the iPack.  




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  • 1 month later...

Thanks for your input Shan.

Unfortunately, using CDMA modems with different service providers is not as simple as loading a different PRL. In order to activate a CDMA modem on a network, it must include full provisioning in the form of a QCN file (firmware).

CDMA modems come with preloaded firmware, tailored to a specific network.  In general, it is not possible to take - for example - a Verizon modem and activate it on the TELUS network in Canada.  Although both networks are CDMA, they require different firmware in order to operate.

It is not likely that CDMA technology will continue long into the future. GSM is the de facto international standard for cellular communications.  The Long Term Evolution project (LTE) is a next generation version of GSM (which is actually TDMA) that is currently being developed by cellular networks and product manufacturers worldwide.  The current estimate on a release date in the United States (on AT&T's network) is in 2011.

For more information on LTE, see the WikiPedia entry:

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