Copied from Blackberry forums, copied from google:
Cell broadcasting allows text messages to be broadcast to all mobile handsets in a given geographical area. This area can range from the area covered by a single cell to the whole network. Because cell broadcast works by targeting particular cells no knowledge of mobile telephone numbers is required, unlike bulk SMS. Also cell broadcasting places a very low load on the network, a cell broadcast to every subscriber on the network is equivalent to sending an SMS message to a single phone. Network loading problems can cause severe problems in emergency situations when network usage is likely to be very high anyway and in these circumstances SMS messages can be delayed for hours or days or even lost altogether.
The cell broadcast technology provides for 64000 broadcast channels so that different types of message (severe weather, terrorist, missing child etc) could be broadcast on different channels. Not every subscriber would necessarily receive all the channels and hence all the messages. Channels can be activated from the handset or remotely by the network. Ideally certain channels would be allocated for certain message types and these would be standardised globally so that travellers would receive alerts wherever they happen to be.
From what I understand we don't use it here in the states b/c our providers don't use broadcast messages.
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I would (and did) turn this feature off on my Tour. The concept sounds good. I could see this being beneficial in emergency situations where a governmental agency needed to get word out fast. An example, I live near the Gulf Coast and we were devestated by Hurricane Katrina. Cell phones were all we had for a few weeks. Agencies could send out Cell Broadcasts giving location and times for ice distribution or water. This is just one example of how I think Cell Broadcast could be beneficial.