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The Core Technology...


Cell Broadcast is a point-to-area mobile technology that allows messages (up to 15 pages of up to 93 characters) or binary data to be broadcast in real-time to an unlimited number of mobile handsets and terminal devices within a designated geographical area. The broadcast range can be varied, from a single cell to the entire network.


  • Cell Broadcast (CB) messaging is a mobile technology feature defined by the ETSI’s GSM committee and is part of the GSM, UMTS, LTE and IS-95 CDMA standard.

  • Cell Broadcast is a technology that allows a text or binary message to be defined and directed to all mobile terminals connected to a geographically selected set of cells.

  • Whereas SMS messages are sent point-to-point, Cell Broadcast messages are sent point-to-area.

  • A Cell Broadcast message can reach an unlimited number of terminals at once.

  • Cell Broadcast achieves Geo-Selectivity message delivery by selecting the broadcast cell(s), rather than acquiring/tracking the location of the subscribers’ terminal devices.

  • A Cell Broadcast message is an unconfirmed push service, the originator of the message does not know who has received the message, allowing for services based on total anonymity.

  • Cell Broadcast Messaging is not as affected by traffic load; therefore, it will remain operational during crisis and disaster events when load spikes (mass call events) can crash normal wireless and landline network voice and SMS Text operations.

  • Cell Broadcast Messaging functionality was specifically developed to provide mobile subscribers resilient access to ongoing emergency alert and warnings  and authorized government-to-citizen informational updates, to direct disaster victims to supply and distribution centers.

  • Only CB based messaging technology is recognized by the UN ITU, ETSI, US FEMA, for public warning use,

  • Display of CB messages on the mobile terminal is selectively determined by a 16-bit Message Identifier Code, MID, integer which identifies the subject of the message.


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Why Cell Broadcast...


Cell Broadcast Short Messaging is the only wireless media able to guarantee location-based delivery of text and binary data without being affected by or contributing to network load conditions.


It was specifically developed by the commercial mobile industry standards bodies to complement the point-to-point Short Messaging Text Service, SMS, feature by allowing the network to access an unlimited number of terminal devices in real time, a demand not possible by SMS.


Additionally, it utilizes the grid architecture of commercial mobile networks to geo target delivery of messages by the base stations rather than determining the terminals' location.  This eliminates the need for users' identity or location determination, a major privacy concern.


Unlike SMS, Cell Broadcasts can only be initiated by the network eliminating the risk of unauthorized information being disseminated to the public.  (i.e. anyone can send SMS messages)


The delivery cost of CB SMS is one five hundredth the cost of using SMS.


For these reasons, CB SMS is the only messaging media endorsed by US, EU, and UN agencies for mass emergency notification.


Ultimately all authorized alert and warning will be delivered by mobile broadcast/multicast media. The delay in its universal availability is not technical or functional, ironically it is due to the very benefits described above. 

  • Mobile operators' business model is based on backend revenues generated by their subscribers. Unable to identify who if anyone has received a message makes CB SMS non-revenue based service.  In order to market CB to the frontend content originator clients would require a major modification of the business model. 

  • Additionally, a mass notification content client base would require the networks to share data and be responsible for the programing of all trust and contractual protocols in the networks' Cell Broadcast Entity gateways. Again, a major implementation and operational cost.

  • Without a revenue return on Cell Broadcast investments and the use of private spectrum and infrastructure assets, there is no fiduciary benefit to the functionality. Implementation of CB alert and warning as a policy driven rather than market driven initiative has doomed the future expansion and evolution of the technology.

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