Why Carrier Certification Matters for GPS Tracking

All Real-Time GPS Tracking Devices Are Not Created Equal

  You have browsed the internet for a real-time GPS tracking device (and service) and found a company that seems to be cheaper than anybody else. In these tough economic times it makes sense to seriously consider the device since it is 20-30% cheaper than the rest. Is it too good to be true? In most cases – yes! In this article we will examine what it takes to get a device approved to be used on the leading cellular carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile, and why it is necessary. Why is it necessary to get a device like a real-time GPS vehicle tracker approved to operate on a cellular carrier’s network? Above all else, the carrier wants to make sure the device does not interfere with other devices on the network or malfunction in such a way to deny access to other phones and devices. The carriers work very hard to build a reputation of network dependability and superiority to that of their competitors. We see lots of TV ads with various claims that one has better reliability, call quality, or coverage than that of the other. One non-compliant device can go a long way toward diminishing a carrier’s claims. The manufacturer must do several things in order for the real-time GPS tracking device to be certified on the carrier’s system. They include FCC Certification, PTCRB approval, and carrier-specific certification. The Federal Communications Commission requires compliance to certain rules regarding safety and interference by all emitters of radiofrequency (RF) energy. There is a rigorous and costly testing procedure that each device must successfully complete prior to certification. PTCRB stands for PCS Type Certification Review Board. This is a global organization created by PCS carriers to provide a means to bring about standardized testing and certification of devices on their GSM / UMTS wireless networks. They use independent testing facilities that are not affiliated with any manufacturer of wireless equipment. Again, this procedure is time consuming and costly. Carrier-specific certification is the final step in approving a real-time GPS tracking device to operate on a cellular carrier’s network. Each carrier has their own requirements. AT&T for instance, has Network Compatibility Testing. In addition to the FCC and PTCRB certifications, the device must comply with E-911 regulations, be a data-only device, include support for the 850 and 1900 Mhz RF bands, support Enhanced Network Selection, and meet their minimum performance requirements. As you can imagine, this takes more time and money. Now you know why the device advertised on the internet costs less than the certified, name-brand one. What happens if you decide to throw the dice and try the uncertified knockoff made in a sweatshop overseas? Maybe nothing will happen. But, be aware that the carrier has ways of telling what is on their network and will not hesitate to shut those devices off, forever. It is usually better to be safe than sorry later on. Invest the extra dollars on the certified real-time GPS vehicle tracking devices.  

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