1. Omnitech's Avatar
    We often hear the question here: "Why do smartphone OS updates have to be controlled by my wireless carrier?"

    This is NOT a unique issue for BlackBerry owners/users. This is standard practice around the world with only ONE notable exception amongst hundreds of smartphone vendors: Apple iPhone devices.

    In mature/developed markets, wireless carriers are not simply the provider of a generic service like a home internet provider, they are also typically the primary reseller of smartphone hardware that connects to their network, and they are the primary provider of customer support for those devices. Imagine if your home internet provider was the company that sold you your desktop and laptop computers, tablets and anything else that you connected to the internet at your house, and they were also the primary support center for those devices. This is how the wireless industry works in many places, including the USA and Canada. This is a particularly thorny issue in the USA, where it has been much more difficult to move from carrier to carrier due to device locking rules, and because of the prevalence of contract lock-in, etc.

    In markets where most carriers do NOT provide subsidized hardware locked to service contracts, where it is easier to swap a SIM card and switch carriers, there is less incentive for carriers to control OS updates since most devices are purchased from independent resellers, however it is still relatively common for carriers to control OS updates.

    What are the main reasons carriers wish to have this control?

    1. Performance and reliability for all users
    2. Performance and reliability for individual users
    3. Security
    4. Promotional considerations


    1. The performance and reliability of a cellular wireless network is directly impacted by which devices are connected and used with it, and how they are used. Carriers, for good reason, want to limit the likelihood of a customer connecting a flawed device to their network which may cause problems for the carrier or impact service quality for other users.

    2. Carriers also want to be reasonably certain that a customer will get a good result with their network by using only devices that can work properly when connected to it. If customers connect a sub-standard device, it is common to blame the carrier for poor performance or reliability, rather than the device, where the problem may actually be.

    3. Carriers want to ensure that customers are not trying to connect "rogue" devices to the network which have been modified or designed to exploit the network or snoop on the traffic of other users, or to prevent tracking their usage, ie for law enforcement purposes.

    4. Some carriers like to bundle certain apps on devices used on their network, either customer-service apps to help customers see and pay their bill, check their usage, upgrade/downgrade services, etc., or they may wish to bundle apps to promote certain vendors, or to advertise their services, or just as a free convenience, like a music playing app, or a weather app, etc.

    To help ensure performance, reliability and security, many wireless carriers, especially the larger ones, do extensive device testing and qualification both before initial rollout of a particular device and before rolling out a significant OS update for that device. This can add a significant delay to the time it takes a carrier to approve an OS update for official release. And I suspect that the more popular a device is predicted to be, the higher priority it gets in the "testing queue" compared to less popular devices.

    The major exceptions to the typical carrier control of OS updates are in cases where a vendor has their own resale and support infrastructure. The most famous example of this is Apple's iPhone, and a less common example are the Google Nexus devices. In both of these cases, the manufacturer is not only a major or primary reseller of the devices, it also provides extensive direct-to-customer support service. In Apple's case, Apple negotiated strict terms for control of OS updates, device subsidies and minimum sales quotas before the first device was officially released. They are almost unique in the industry in this sense. Even the mighty Samsung - which sells far more smartphones than Apple does today - has not been able to convince carriers to offer them the same control over OS updates on their devices that Apple still enjoys. (In addition in the case of Apple, it is rumored that they own and operate a full-fledged RF testing lab, similiar to the ones used by major wireless carriers, which allows them to some extent to "pre-qualify" certain aspects of the device before submitting them to the carriers for approval. This is certainly another factor in a carrier's willingness to cede control over updates to Apple.)

    Carriers are understandably wary of rolling out updates that may cause a flurry of customer service requests or complaints, because in markets like the USA or Canada, the carriers will bear the majority of the brunt of those customer-service requests/complaints. So especially larger carriers are cautious to test OS updates to ensure no hidden problems will surface causing service problems on their network and for their customers.

    Once again in smaller or less developed markets, carriers will sometimes do either minimal testing, or minimal "gatekeeping" of OS updates.

    In summary - device vendors like BlackBerry rely on carriers to provide them with access to their wireless customers. One way or another, this is a "shotgun wedding" - both entities need each other to make their business run, though at this point carriers probably need BlackBerry less than BlackBerry needs the carriers.

    Many people have suggested that BlackBerry should simply bypass carriers and deliver updates directly to customers. Certainly the technical capability to do this exists. However, as stated above, BlackBerry still needs the carriers to provide their devices with access to their customers. And because at the present time, BlackBerry's market leverage is not high, attempting to "force" carriers to push updates on BlackBerry's preferred schedule, or simply bypassing them entirely, runs the risk of alienating the company from the entities (carriers) it unquestionably needs to keep selling smartphones.

    So for those reasons, we are not likely to see any change in the "gatekeeping" of OS updates by wireless carriers, until such time BlackBerry either gains more market power, or comes up with a way to incentivize carriers to turn over more control to them.

    I hope this has answered your main questions and I will update the FAQ as necessary to improve and modernize it.
    Lendo, Heavens1, scorpi05 and 18 others like this.
    03-12-14 07:47 PM
  2. sickyute's Avatar
    I hope people in this forum actually read this. Especially the part about Apple!

    Thanks for posting.

    Posted via CB10 running on Z10STL100-1/10.2.1.2141
    Last edited by sickyute; 03-15-14 at 05:14 PM.
    Omnitech likes this.
    03-12-14 07:53 PM
  3. toobs623's Avatar
    Lmao so I saw this in the unanswered threads and clicked it planning to point the lost soul in the direction of a post made by someone who laid it out well in another thread. Low and behold they're the same person =))
    Fret Madden and Omnitech like this.
    03-12-14 07:57 PM
  4. Ragbert's Avatar
    Omnitech, thank you for gathering all that info in one thread. I've been following your earlier discussions with other posters about this in several other threads, and it's great to have it consolidated here.

    Typed on my Q10, SQN100-2, 10.2.1.2141 :-)
    03-12-14 09:27 PM
  5. mnc76's Avatar
    I've been told that it's still BlackBerry's fault since they didn't launch with 10.2.1 in the first place (since they were late to respond to the iPhone, and therefore late to abandon legacy BBOS, and therefore had to launch with 10.0 (which wasn't 'fully baked' at the time)).

    I personally don't agree with it, but this is apparently a very very widely held opinion on CB.

    Just acting as the "messenger" here.



    Posted via CB10
    03-13-14 06:59 AM
  6. louzer's Avatar
    Two additional points:

    1. Why is it that US CDMA-based carriers seem to always take longer for the approval process?

    2. Carrier device testing resources are probably limited and device updates hit a queue that probably isn't first-come first-serve. It's probably priority-related. And the carriers set the priorites probably based on sales/relationship with manufacturer.
    03-13-14 11:59 AM
  7. Omnitech's Avatar
    I've been told that it's still BlackBerry's fault since they didn't launch with 10.2.1 in the first place (since they were late to respond to the iPhone, and therefore late to abandon legacy BBOS, and therefore had to launch with 10.0 (which wasn't 'fully baked' at the time)).

    I personally don't agree with it, but this is apparently a very very widely held opinion on CB.

    What is "still BlackBerry's fault"? The fact that carriers control OS updates?

    All people need to do is do a survey of the global industry and they will quickly discover this is standard practice in the industry.

    There are a lot of people who hold unsupportable opinions.
    sickyute likes this.
    03-13-14 01:15 PM
  8. Omnitech's Avatar
    Why is it that US CDMA-based carriers seem to always take longer for the approval process?

    CDMA (otherwise known as IS-95 or IS-2000) has a low and declining market share in the wireless industry today and is being slowly phased-out in most areas as carriers (like Verizon) migrate to other technologies such as LTE.

    Because of that, fewer devices are made with this radio type and fewer devices are submitted for certification, so there is a much smaller "body of knowledge" of device characteristics than there is with GSM devices. Furthermore, most high-end CDMA-based smartphone products today have dual-technology radios (for both CDMA and GSM/3GPP/LTE capabilities) so this makes them more complicated to design and test.
    03-13-14 01:23 PM
  9. pkcable's Avatar
    Moved to our special Tips, How To & FAQ section. While it's gaining some traction and is so fresh I'm going to sticky it but most stuff in here just stands on it's on so we will probably unstick it eventually.

    Great thread through!
    Omnitech likes this.
    03-13-14 08:34 PM
  10. privateeyes's Avatar
    We often hear the question here: "Why do smartphone OS updates have to be controlled by my wireless carrier?"

    This is NOT a unique issue for BlackBerry owners/users. This is standard practice around the world with only ONE notable exception amongst hundreds of smartphone vendors: Apple iPhone devices.

    In mature/developed markets, wireless carriers are not simply the provider of a generic service like a home internet provider, they are also typically the primary reseller of smartphone hardware that connects to their network, and they are the primary provider of customer support for those devices. Imagine if your home internet provider was the company that sold you your desktop and laptop computers, tablets and anything else that you connected to the internet at your house, and they were also the primary support center for those devices. This is how the wireless industry works in many places, including the USA and Canada. This is a particularly thorny issue in the USA, where it has been much more difficult to move from carrier to carrier due to device locking rules, and because of the prevalence of contract lock-in, etc.

    In markets where most carriers do NOT provide subsidized hardware locked to service contracts, where it is easier to swap a SIM card and switch carriers, there is less incentive for carriers to control OS updates since most devices are purchased from independent resellers, however it is still relatively common for carriers to control OS updates.

    What are the main reasons carriers wish to have this control?

    1. Performance and reliability for all users
    2. Performance and reliability for individual users
    3. Security
    4. Promotional considerations


    1. The performance and reliability of a cellular wireless network is directly impacted by which devices are connected and used with it, and how they are used. Carriers, for good reason, want to limit the likelihood of a customer connecting a flawed device to their network which may cause problems for the carrier or impact service quality for other users.

    2. Carriers also want to be reasonably certain that a customer will get a good result with their network by using only devices that can work properly when connected to it. If customers connect a sub-standard device, it is common to blame the carrier for poor performance or reliability, rather than the device, where the problem may actually be.

    3. Carriers want to ensure that customers are not trying to connect "rogue" devices to the network which have been modified or designed to exploit the network or snoop on the traffic of other users, or to prevent tracking their usage, ie for law enforcement purposes.

    4. Some carriers like to bundle certain apps on devices used on their network, either customer-service apps to help customers see and pay their bill, check their usage, upgrade/downgrade services, etc., or they may wish to bundle apps to promote certain vendors, or to advertise their services, or just as a free convenience, like a music playing app, or a weather app, etc.

    To help ensure performance, reliability and security, many wireless carriers, especially the larger ones, do extensive device testing and qualification both before initial rollout of a particular device and before rolling out a significant OS update for that device. This can add a significant delay to the time it takes a carrier to approve an OS update for official release. And I suspect that the more popular a device is predicted to be, the higher priority it gets in the "testing queue" compared to less popular devices.

    The major exceptions to the typical carrier control of OS updates are in cases where a vendor has their own resale and support infrastructure. The most famous example of this is Apple's iPhone, and a less common example are the Google Nexus devices. In both of these cases, the manufacturer is not only a major or primary reseller of the devices, it also provides extensive direct-to-customer support service. In Apple's case, Apple negotiated strict terms for control of OS updates, device subsidies and minimum sales quotas before the first device was officially released. They are almost unique in the industry in this sense. Even the mighty Samsung - which sells far more smartphones than Apple does today - has not been able to convince carriers to offer them the same control over OS updates on their devices that Apple still enjoys. (In addition in the case of Apple, it is rumored that they own and operate a full-fledged RF testing lab, similiar to the ones used by major wireless carriers, which allows them to some extent to "pre-qualify" certain aspects of the device before submitting them to the carriers for approval. This is certainly another factor in a carrier's willingness to cede control over updates to Apple.)

    Carriers are understandably wary of rolling out updates that may cause a flurry of customer service requests or complaints, because in markets like the USA or Canada, the carriers will bear the majority of the brunt of those customer-service requests/complaints. So especially larger carriers are cautious to test OS updates to ensure no hidden problems will surface causing service problems on their network and for their customers.

    Once again in smaller or less developed markets, carriers will sometimes do either minimal testing, or minimal "gatekeeping" of OS updates.

    In summary - device vendors like BlackBerry rely on carriers to provide them with access to their wireless customers. One way or another, this is a "shotgun wedding" - both entities need each other to make their business run, though at this point carriers probably need BlackBerry less than BlackBerry needs the carriers.

    Many people have suggested that BlackBerry should simply bypass carriers and deliver updates directly to customers. Certainly the technical capability to do this exists. However, as stated above, BlackBerry still needs the carriers to provide their devices with access to their customers. And because at the present time, BlackBerry's market leverage is not high, attempting to "force" carriers to push updates on BlackBerry's preferred schedule, or simply bypassing them entirely, runs the risk of alienating the company from the entities (carriers) it unquestionably needs to keep selling smartphones.

    So for those reasons, we are not likely to see any change in the "gatekeeping" of OS updates by wireless carriers, until such time BlackBerry either gains more market power, or comes up with a way to incentivize carriers to turn over more control to them.

    I hope this has answered your main questions and I will update the FAQ as necessary to improve and modernize it.
    It answered mine thanks Omni

    Posted via CB10
    03-14-14 07:39 AM
  11. Pete The Penguin's Avatar
    Even Apple and Google have to submit new devices with cellular radios to each carrier (they want support from) for approval.

    The only way to avoid the carrier control on non-iPhone devices is by going around them, purchasing a device directly from the phone?s manufacturer BUT you still need a SIM and it's the carriers that supply those.

    We often hear the question here: "Why do smartphone OS updates have to be controlled by my wireless carrier?"

    This is NOT a unique issue for BlackBerry owners/users. This is standard practice around the world with only ONE notable exception amongst hundreds of smartphone vendors: Apple iPhone devices.

    In mature/developed markets, wireless carriers are not simply the provider of a generic service like a home internet provider, they are also typically the primary reseller of smartphone hardware that connects to their network, and they are the primary provider of customer support for those devices. Imagine if your home internet provider was the company that sold you your desktop and laptop computers, tablets and anything else that you connected to the internet at your house, and they were also the primary support center for those devices. This is how the wireless industry works in many places, including the USA and Canada. This is a particularly thorny issue in the USA, where it has been much more difficult to move from carrier to carrier due to device locking rules, and because of the prevalence of contract lock-in, etc.

    In markets where most carriers do NOT provide subsidized hardware locked to service contracts, where it is easier to swap a SIM card and switch carriers, there is less incentive for carriers to control OS updates since most devices are purchased from independent resellers, however it is still relatively common for carriers to control OS updates.

    What are the main reasons carriers wish to have this control?

    1. Performance and reliability for all users
    2. Performance and reliability for individual users
    3. Security
    4. Promotional considerations


    1. The performance and reliability of a cellular wireless network is directly impacted by which devices are connected and used with it, and how they are used. Carriers, for good reason, want to limit the likelihood of a customer connecting a flawed device to their network which may cause problems for the carrier or impact service quality for other users.

    2. Carriers also want to be reasonably certain that a customer will get a good result with their network by using only devices that can work properly when connected to it. If customers connect a sub-standard device, it is common to blame the carrier for poor performance or reliability, rather than the device, where the problem may actually be.

    3. Carriers want to ensure that customers are not trying to connect "rogue" devices to the network which have been modified or designed to exploit the network or snoop on the traffic of other users, or to prevent tracking their usage, ie for law enforcement purposes.

    4. Some carriers like to bundle certain apps on devices used on their network, either customer-service apps to help customers see and pay their bill, check their usage, upgrade/downgrade services, etc., or they may wish to bundle apps to promote certain vendors, or to advertise their services, or just as a free convenience, like a music playing app, or a weather app, etc.

    To help ensure performance, reliability and security, many wireless carriers, especially the larger ones, do extensive device testing and qualification both before initial rollout of a particular device and before rolling out a significant OS update for that device. This can add a significant delay to the time it takes a carrier to approve an OS update for official release. And I suspect that the more popular a device is predicted to be, the higher priority it gets in the "testing queue" compared to less popular devices.

    The major exceptions to the typical carrier control of OS updates are in cases where a vendor has their own resale and support infrastructure. The most famous example of this is Apple's iPhone, and a less common example are the Google Nexus devices. In both of these cases, the manufacturer is not only a major or primary reseller of the devices, it also provides extensive direct-to-customer support service. In Apple's case, Apple negotiated strict terms for control of OS updates, device subsidies and minimum sales quotas before the first device was officially released. They are almost unique in the industry in this sense. Even the mighty Samsung - which sells far more smartphones than Apple does today - has not been able to convince carriers to offer them the same control over OS updates on their devices that Apple still enjoys. (In addition in the case of Apple, it is rumored that they own and operate a full-fledged RF testing lab, similiar to the ones used by major wireless carriers, which allows them to some extent to "pre-qualify" certain aspects of the device before submitting them to the carriers for approval. This is certainly another factor in a carrier's willingness to cede control over updates to Apple.)

    Carriers are understandably wary of rolling out updates that may cause a flurry of customer service requests or complaints, because in markets like the USA or Canada, the carriers will bear the majority of the brunt of those customer-service requests/complaints. So especially larger carriers are cautious to test OS updates to ensure no hidden problems will surface causing service problems on their network and for their customers.

    Once again in smaller or less developed markets, carriers will sometimes do either minimal testing, or minimal "gatekeeping" of OS updates.

    In summary - device vendors like BlackBerry rely on carriers to provide them with access to their wireless customers. One way or another, this is a "shotgun wedding" - both entities need each other to make their business run, though at this point carriers probably need BlackBerry less than BlackBerry needs the carriers.

    Many people have suggested that BlackBerry should simply bypass carriers and deliver updates directly to customers. Certainly the technical capability to do this exists. However, as stated above, BlackBerry still needs the carriers to provide their devices with access to their customers. And because at the present time, BlackBerry's market leverage is not high, attempting to "force" carriers to push updates on BlackBerry's preferred schedule, or simply bypassing them entirely, runs the risk of alienating the company from the entities (carriers) it unquestionably needs to keep selling smartphones.

    So for those reasons, we are not likely to see any change in the "gatekeeping" of OS updates by wireless carriers, until such time BlackBerry either gains more market power, or comes up with a way to incentivize carriers to turn over more control to them.

    I hope this has answered your main questions and I will update the FAQ as necessary to improve and modernize it.
    03-15-14 07:35 PM
  12. ralfyguy's Avatar
    Well, since BlackBerry already has been almost completely alienated by US Carriers, and the fact that BlackBerry even sells their phones unlocked from the factory already, might as well go the Apple route now and just release the updates straight out. LOL
    03-30-14 09:37 AM
  13. ofutur's Avatar
    Sources?
    05-22-14 09:32 AM
  14. kbz1960's Avatar
    So when we install leaks or people root their phones or jailbreak we are making the carriers and everyone else using them have a terrible experience.

    Well then, all leaks, roots and jailbreaks must be stopped then? BTW I don't think people doing all of the above effects anything.
    05-22-14 09:52 AM
  15. Omnitech's Avatar
    Sources?

    I'm using Berrynium for that.
    05-22-14 03:56 PM
  16. hatchaholic's Avatar
    So I assume we void some sort of carrier warranty by upgrading around them? I just got my phone so haven't yet gotten to click "I agree" to whatever verizon's terms are that probably include this subject?
    (yes, lower than noob)
    05-15-15 04:34 PM
  17. joeldf's Avatar
    So I assume we void some sort of carrier warranty by upgrading around them? I just got my phone so haven't yet gotten to click "I agree" to whatever verizon's terms are that probably include this subject?
    (yes, lower than noob)
    No, it does not void the warranty. It never has. But, if you have a software related problem, don't expect the carrier to help you resolve it, because they would likely not know what you're talking about.
    06-02-15 03:08 PM
  18. Omnitech's Avatar
    No, it does not void the warranty. It never has. But, if you have a software related problem, don't expect the carrier to help you resolve it, because they would likely not know what you're talking about.

    Well I'm not sure it never has, but these days if you're using a non-officially-supported build and have a service or device or software problem, the carrier (eg in the USA) may require you revert to an official build before they give you support or replace the device.

    In places such as the developing world where almost all hardware is purchased outright without service bundling, carriers seem to exert less control over such things.
    Uzi likes this.
    06-24-15 04:30 AM
  19. Uzi's Avatar
    Well I'm not sure it never has, but these days if you're using a non-officially-supported build and have a service or device or software problem, the carrier (eg in the USA) may require you revert to an official build before they give you support or replace the device.

    In places such as the developing world where almost all hardware is purchased outright without service bundling, carriers seem to exert less control over such things.
    Correct most of us in Indonesia and Malaysia buy the phone outright

    Z30STA100-2/10.3.2.2252 | CB Mod
    06-24-15 04:43 AM
  20. JstAntherAnimal's Avatar
    This is especially interesting since most telcos will tell you they don't make much off the handset. Instead, their goal is increasing MRCs (monthly recurring charges) for services. Before relocating I was great friends with a CS manager for big red who always complain about the lost time and money they had dealing with handsets. Seems to me in the world of SIMs that telcos would love to be out of the handset biz, let manufacture-authorized retailers deal with the headache and support/repair/technical issues, and just sell services. Seems the lower overhead, reduced need for staffing and storefronts and increased overall profitability would be a big enticement for telcos to bailout of the hardware side of the industry.
    06-28-15 02:12 PM
  21. JstAntherAnimal's Avatar
    Correct most of us in Indonesia and Malaysia buy the phone outright

    Z30STA100-2/10.3.2.2252 | CB Mod
    Same in Dubai. Buy the phone from an authorized retailer, and buy an Etisalat SIM in the same store. Had a BB in my hand working in about 5 minutes and never had a conversation with a telco rep or service person. When I want to ad or drop services I send a txt with the corresponding service code to turn the service on or off. The US/North American market is way too labor-intensive when it comes to phone/data services.
    06-28-15 02:15 PM
  22. MOB654's Avatar
    I currently use an unlocked Q5 on Bell (Canada) - and I have received updates no problem. Considering moving to a "low cost" provider like Wind Mobile or Koodo. Does anyone know if these lower cost providers typically delay updates? For example, Koodo is owned by Telus so would Telus subscribers get BB10 updates before Koodo?
    Just wondering about what I might "give up" by moving to a less expensive provider.......
    07-30-15 07:29 PM
  23. Omnitech's Avatar
    I currently use an unlocked Q5 on Bell (Canada) - and I have received updates no problem. Considering moving to a "low cost" provider like Wind Mobile or Koodo. Does anyone know if these lower cost providers typically delay updates? For example, Koodo is owned by Telus so would Telus subscribers get BB10 updates before Koodo?
    Just wondering about what I might "give up" by moving to a less expensive provider.......

    In my experience, because the smaller providers tend to have a lot fewer technical staff and capabilities for vetting and testing firmware releases, they actually often release new builds faster than large carriers because many of them just release the generic builds as soon as they are available, instead of doing a bunch of testing and customizing of a build specifically for them.
    10-01-15 06:22 PM
  24. folabiola's Avatar
    Good work. Information here has been quite helpful to me
    07-25-16 06:12 PM

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