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    Comfone and Cellusys help UK mobile operator to ‘improve the roaming charge experience’ 

    Mobile roaming management isn't just about opportunist billing, but making sure the subscriber gets hitched onto the best network in each country

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    Hosted steering is profitable for the operator but will this subscriber ever love the roaming charge experience?

    An unnamed UK mobile operator has adopted a hosted steering system that promises to maximise profitability in wholesale roaming volumes  while giving users an improved ‘roaming experience’. The nameless telco, , is to use the Cellusys-made Steering of Roaming system, which is hosted and managed by roaming specialist Comfone. This represents a shift in roaming strategy, from sponsored systems, based on a dual-IMSI system, to direct roaming, which gives the operator greater control.

    Show me the way to go roam

    The unique identifier, or International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) is typically association with the SIM card of each phone. In many sponsored roaming systems, each subscriber has two identities (IMSIs): one to be used on the home network and another one to be used by networks they connect to when roaming. In this arrangement, the operator outsources the that the management ofoutbound roaming traffic, relying on theroaming agreements of the third party, and not those of the operator. In a direct sponsored system, only one IMSI is used, and the operator benefits fromreciprocity in their own wholesale agreements with other operators, without reliance on third party entities.

    Profits the networks

    The benefit of direct roaming is that  the operator can steer subscribers to fulfil wholesale traffic volumes. In addition to potentially lower roaming charges for subscribers however, with adequate visibility of visited network quality, this opens the possibility for the network to improve data and call quality and overall roaming experience for their customers. “This operator is the first of many who will benefit from the combined Cellusys and Comfone offering which supports profitable roaming strategies, while actually improving roamer experience,” said Cellusys CEO Brendan Cleary.

    Bill sticklers will feel persecuted

    Sponsored roaming is a common choice for small networks and mobile virtual network operators, however in the long run, its inefficiencies have a cost.. As their legacy roaming system came to a natural end, the roaming team recognised this as an opportunity to regain control over the subscriber roaming experience, as well as to realise the potential profitability of a roaming strategy based on precision steering.

    User gets best network available

    The Cellusys hybrid steering system supports 4G and 5G traffic and support for 5G Standalone networks is imminent. The improvement in user roaming experience comes from the ability to steer outbound roamers to the network with the highest quality service, while still achieving ‘incredible’ accuracy in reaching targeted volumes, claims Cellusys. The platform also has an integrated SMS Outreach system, allowing subscribers to be reached with updates and information delivered through SMS, based on subscriber travel destination and activity. Cellusys is best known for introduced the Signalling Firewall to the telecom industry in 2014 and is recognized as a Tier-1 providerof services for 5G, VoLTE, signalling security, anti-fraud, A2P monetisation, roaming, analytics and IoT for an aggregate of 880 million subscribers.

    Now operators can roam direct

    The mobile operator’s shift to direct roaming with steering is now feasible as the network’s subscriber base has grown to a volume sufficient to sustain beneficial roaming agreements with operators globally. Comfone carries all the network IPX traffic, and is a logical choice to provide Roaming as a Service. “There is a shift in the industry towards centralisation in both signalling and value added services, but we see mobile virtual network operators becoming more specialised in their offerings to subscribers,” said Derek Moser, Comfone’s VP of Business Development. “We are pleased to be able to support operators and virtual operators effectively on both ends of this spectrum.”

    The rights to roam

    Increasingly, MVNOs are focusing their commercial models and offerings on specific market segments such as low cost, while other operators focus on customer bases demanding more flexibility and unlimited use. This trend towards segmentation means roaming services could benefit network operators and their virtual network peers alike, as many are shifting away from management of their own network operations. Hosting and launching of services, platform upgrades to support future technologies and simple platform maintenance are relieving operators of management burdens and allowing them to be customer-focused.