CELLULAR RADIOTELEPHONE SYSTEM WITH REMOTELY PROGRAMMED MOBILE STATIONS
RELATED APPLICATIONS 5
The present patent application is a Continuation of "Cellular Radiotelephone System With Remotely Programmed Mobile Stations," by Robert G. Zicker, et al. Ser. No. 09/020,324, filed Feb. 6, 1998, issued Mar. 2, 1999 as U.S. 1Q Pat. No. 5,878,339, which is a Continuation of "Cellular Radiotelephone System With Remotely Programmed Mobile Stations," by Robert G. Zicker, et al., Ser. No. 08/315,010, filed Sep. 29, 1994 now abandoned, which is a Continuation-In-Part of "Multiple Mode Personal Wireless Communications System," by Robert G. Zicker, et al., Ser. No. 08/201,445, filed Feb. 24, 1994, issued Jan. 14, 1997 as U.S. Pat. No. 5,594,782, all of which are incorporated herein by reference.
TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION 20
The present invention relates generally to cellular radio telecommunication systems. More specifically, the present invention relates to the control of user-specific programming stored in and acted upon by mobile stations. 25
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Mobile stations used in connection with conventional cellular telecommunication systems are manufactured in a
blank or unprogrammed state. An activation process is performed both to acquire customer identification information so that customers may be successfully billed for communication services and to personalize the mobile stations so that they will be capable of providing communication services. Until a mobile station has been activated, it can neither make nor receive a call. After activation, changes in either customer preferences or system operating characteristics can require changes to the mobile stations' personalization.
Personalization is accomplished by causing the mobile station to include certain user-specific programming. The user-specific programming represents data which cause the mobile station to function as desired for a specific user. Examples of user-specific programming include, but are not 45 limited to, a mobile identification number (MIN) and home system identification (SID). The MIN represents the mobile station's phone number, and the home SID represents the identification of the cellular system with which the user has contracted to provide communication services. 50
Activation is currently accomplished through two different techniques. In accordance with one activation technique, a skilled service representative collects data from a new customer, uses a computer in data communication with an on-line computerized customer activation system to obtain a 55 valid MIN, and manually operates the mobile station's keypad to program the MIN and other user-specific programming in the mobile station. In accordance the second technique, preprogrammed mobile stations are stocked in retail stores so that no user-specific programming need be go keyed into the mobile station keypad. Both techniques have undesirable consequences.
The technique of requiring a skilled service representative to program mobile stations forces new customers to go out of their way to visit a service representative. This is an 65 inconvenience to customers and limits the availability of mobile stations in mass markets. Moreover, this technique is
error prone because the human factor is involved in handkeying user-specific programming into mobile stations. It is also expensive because of labor costs associated with making a sufficient number of skilled service representatives available to the general public. In addition, the expense and error-prone nature of this technique are exacerbated because the programming sequences are typically cryptic, different mobile station manufacturers use different programming sequences, and the programming sequences change as new mobile station models become available.
The second technique of stocking preprogrammed mobile stations addresses some of the problems associated with using skilled service representatives to hand-key userspecific programming into mobile stations. However, this second technique increases activation costs due to the need to inventory and track mobile stations that differ only in their user-specific programming. In addition, user-specific programming is typically configured to fit general customer profiles rather than an individual customer's preferences. It also leads to confusion in the assignment of MINs. For example, MINs are assigned well in advance of when the mobile station is actually sold. The MIN is allocated for a particular area or location of use, typically at the location of the retail store where the mobile station is sold. However, the customer may seldom or never actually use the mobile station near the store. Consequently, the customer may get a mobile station with a MIN which is not appropriate for the customer's actual area of use.
The problems associated with the above two techniques for activating mobile stations could, in large part, be eliminated through the use of a remotely programmable mobile station. While a few remotely programmable mobile stations have been devised, they cannot be remotely programmed for activation. Conventional remotely programmable mobile stations require the mobile station to be activated before they may be remotely programmed. Prior activation is required because the mobile stations accomplish remote programming by making or receiving a call, but they can neither make nor receive a call until after activation. In addition, conventional remotely programmable mobile stations use ubiquitous telecommunications modem technology to receive the user-specific data. A security risk results due to the coupling of mobile stations to a public network and the widespread availability of modem technology in the general population.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Accordingly, it is an advantage of the present invention that an improved cellular system having remotely programmed mobile stations is provided.
Another advantage of the present invention is that mobile stations may be remotely programmed for user-specific activation programming and for subsequent alterations in the user-specific programming.
Another advantage is that the present invention provides remote programming without requiring the use of ubiquitous conventional telecommunications modem technology.
Another advantage is that the present invention provides for the secure remote programming of certain mobile stations without requiring significant changes to the existing cellular telecommunications infrastructure.
The above and other advantages of the present invention are carried out in one form by a method of operating a cellular telecommunications system to manage user-specific programming stored in mobile stations, to manage signalling between one or more land stations and the mobile stations,