The Global Sim

In this blog we will discuss the ‘Global SIM’. Why is this relevant?

If your business needs cellular device connectivity in multiple countries around the world, you have – broadly – two options:

  1. You can talk to an MNO (Mobile Network Operator) in each country where this connectivity is needed, and negotiate agreements with each. However, this would be a very time consuming exercise, and result in a different price, contract, invoice, currency, and service level in each country. Not recommended!
  2. You can identify one partner who can provide you with connectivity in every country where you need it. This should mean one contract, one invoice, one management platform, and probably just one price in one currency. It should also mean one physical SIM, regardless of country, resulting in your use of one SKU. 

This latter approach is far more attractive and manageable for the majority of businesses. 

But how such a service is delivered can vary.

The traditional approach is to use our old friend, the Multi-Network SIM. This is a SIM sourced from a foreign MNO (typically European) which can legitimately roam in another country on a permanent basis. MNOs typically have roaming agreements in place with most (or even all) of the world’s other MNOs. This of course makes sense, since these roaming agreements were originally designed to allow people to use their phones abroad in any country they cared to travel to.

As we discussed in a previous blog (see xxx), there are limitations to the use of these in a few countries. But unless you are looking for connectivity in those countries (like Brazil, Turkey, India, China), then this is a viable and cost effective option.

A rapidly emerging alternative is to use a ‘localized’ global network service. This is a service delivered over a global mobile core network, with points of presence in major countries. This requires the network operator to negotiate agreements in each country with the local MNOs, so that a local native connection will connect to the nearest point of presence of the global network. This has several major benefits:

  1. It enables the provision of a global service, delivered internationally over one global network managed by one company. That means fewer links in the chain, and less links to go wrong.
  2. Since the local MNO’s are providing the local connection, it means that they treat the connection like any other local connection they provide. This differs from Multi-Network SIMs, which are roaming and subject to the limits we discussed in the Multi-Network SIM Blog. ‘Localised’ connections are therefore seen as impervious to changes in regulation and competitive restrictions and thus a safer long term bet.
  3. The delivery of localised connections over a global network avoids the need for all traffic to be routed back to the ‘home’ MNO network, which is normally in Europe. This means reduced latency.

The drawback of this type of service is that the ‘library’ of local connections available is limited, at least to begin with. It takes a long time to negotiate local agreements with most of the world’s MNOs! In reality, because of this, the connection from the device to the point of presence on the global network is often made via a roaming SIM, which limits the benefits of this type of service.

Naturally, service providers disagree on which approach is better at this moment in time, depending on which type they are selling. Certainly, once there is a complete library of localised connections available, this will be the more robust approach. But that time is some way off.

Trafalgar Wireless is able to offer both types of service. We would gladly walk you through the pros and cons in more depth, which will be heavily influenced by the countries in which you need connectivity.

Please drop us a line to arrange a call!