Omnipoint to Alter Wireless Formulas
Bethesda, Md.-based Omnipoint Corp. said it plans to change the mathematical formulas used in its wireless phone service after two UC Berkeley researchers discovered a way to break the code that protects it. Omnipoint Executive Vice President George Schmitt said he’s going to personalize Omnipoint’s formula for identifying phones rather than use the general formulas of the global system for mobile communications, or GSM, digital wireless standard. Tim Ayers, a spokesman for the Cellular Telephone Industry Assn., said he expects most GSM operators to follow Omnipoint’s lead. Digital phone services, for which GSM is the world’s most popular standard, give users clearer sound, longer battery life and greater security. That security lies in the long, encrypted digital codes through which the signal is transferred. Bethesda, Md.-based Omnipoint shares fell 75 cents to close at $25.75 on Nasdaq.