Tuesday, March 24, 2009

PRL Updates- Do we care?

The Preferred Roaming List (PRL) that is used by CDMA cellular carriers seems to no longer be as great a concern as it was in previous years. The actual text interpretations have become harder to come by mostly because it has been a volunteer effort, and when those volunteers become less passionate about creating and posting those lists, it may reflect a general malaise about the PRL process.

Customers could (and still can) pick and choose which PRL is downloaded to their phone, some by timing their PRL update, and others by actually downloading the desired PRL. As roaming partners disappear, so does the desire, and need, to control a individual user's list of roaming partners. Most GSM users seem to actually want their MNC updates to come sooner rather than later.

Also, by example, as Verizon PRL's begin to favor their own newly-acquired Alltel and Unicel properties, they will reduce the roaming payments to smaller carriers like US Cellular, making it more difficult for them to survive as independents. This isn't a sinister plot, this is the evolution of Verizon realizing the savings they gain by owning their roaming partners.

So, as our roaming experience improves, our need for 'custom' PRL's diminishes. And as the larger carriers absorb their roaming partners, the savings will result in lower wireless bills for us...won't they?

No comments: