Clearwire Opens Up With mFormation
That's one of the big issues facing Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR) and its mobile WiMax network and the reason that the operator has turned to over-the-air management specialist, Mformation Technologies Inc. The two firms announced early Monday that Clearwire has signed on to use mFormation's software.
"We're up and running and live with them now," Rob Dalgety, commercial director for mFormation, tells Unstrung.
He says one of the principal differences between the Clear service and a traditional cellular service is the open access element: "They want a very open model for the device."
This means Clearwire's back-office systems have to be able to identify a device and determine whether the user is a current subscriber or someone logging on with a short-term access pass, and then bill and provision them accordingly.
mFormation has based a lot of its technology on the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) device management protocol, and the Clearwire system is no different.
"It's like a de facto standard for WiMax now," boasts Dalgety.
In a nutshell, the mFormation system works like this: Using the OMA protocol, the software identifies the type of device on the network, then dives into the carrier's authentication, authorization, and accounting (AAA) server to determine if it is dealing with a new user or a regular customer. It then sets up the device on the network based on that information.
This means mFormation is also working with WiMax vendors to ensure that the OMA protocol is integrated on devices. "We're working with 10 different OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] at the moment," Dalgety says.
Of course, mFormation has already done much of the spade-work with WiMax, since it was already working with Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) on its XOHM service. (See Music in the Air for Sprint's WiMax?)
Clearwire, however, isn't the only vendor that will be grappling with open access issues in the months and years to come. Verizon Wireless has already inked a deal with smart-card vendor Gemalto to devise some of the building blocks of its upcoming Long Term Evolution (LTE) services strategy.
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung