Sprint 'Disabling Use' of Carrier IQ on Affected Devices

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Published December 16, 2011

| Tech Crunch

Just a day after Minnesota Senator Al Franken published reports on how carriers and device vendors use Carrier IQ, Sprint seems to be taking steps to distance themselves the mobile monitoring company. According to MobileBurn, Sprint has confirmed that they will be disabling their use of Carrier IQ software on affected devices.

They’ve got a lot of them too: in response to an inquiry from Senator Franken, Sprint recently revealed that 26 million Sprint devices have made it into customers’ hands with Carrier IQ on-board.

For now, it seems as though Sprint simply won’t be “tasking” devices for diagnostic data, and that the software will remain on those devices. That may change soon though: a report from Geek.com indicates that HTC and Sprint’s other hardware partners have been asked to push out over-the-air software updates that don’t include Carrier IQ. Sprint representatives offer no comment.

The one thing Sprint doesn’t make mention of is what the next step is. If this turns out to be the end of the two companies’ long-term relationship, then it stands to reason that Sprint will no longer be asking hardware partners to integrate Carrier IQ’s software going forward. That is, at least, until they can figure out another way to get that much-needed diagnostic information.

Now that a major carrier has discontinued their use of Carrier IQ (at least for now), an important question comes to mind: what does this mean for Sprint’s network? The two companies have worked together since 2006, and I doubt that their relationship would have continued for so long unless it actually resulted in improvements for the network and for customer satisfaction.

Sprint’s email mentioned “evaluating options regarding this diagnostic software as well as Sprint’s diagnostic needs,” which to me speaks to the importance they place on maintaining their network. I can’t help but wonder if we’ll see how valuable Carrier IQ’s data is to carriers if/when the two companies part ways.

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