How will growing restrictions on network roaming impact the success of international IoT projects? Is eUICC a realistic solution? What impact could an MNO federation have on global connectivity?
Roaming falls out of favour
A key precursor to the widespread adoption of IoT is the ability to quickly and simply connect devices anywhere in the world. Some suggest this exists through global roaming, yet a growing number of MNOs (Mobile Network Operators) and regulators are implementing permanent roaming restrictions which could mean that after three months an IoT device could be taken off the network. For IoT customers with fixed devices around the world, this may result in the inability to use some networks beyond the short term unless they use a localised eSIM. As roaming falls out of favour organisations will need to turn to global ‘super’ Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO’s) whose strategy is to localise connectivity wherever possible, in order to effectively deploy IoT devices anywhere in the world.
For companies without the bandwidth or budget to manage multiple MNO contracts and connectivity, a MVNO solution could be the answer – but it is clear to see that roaming restrictions have had a considerable impact on IoT predictions falling short, adding an additional hurdle to global project rollouts, and we believe this trend is set to continue.
Successful global eUICC implementation needs to be network agnostic
The Embedded Universal Integrated Circuit Card (eUICC) was going to negate the need to migrate profiles between SIMs, enabling everybody to work together and open a world of opportunities. Unfortunately, it has created a number of implementation challenges for business IoT use cases, as it was designed with the end consumer in mind, rather than industrial users. Profile management and network switching must be driven by service provision rather than the profitability of an MNO. The best way to do this is for the profile management algorithm to be implemented in an abstracted and MNO agnostic switching platform – not by the MNO’s platform.
So while eUICC is set to be the next step to seamless mobile connectivity, its success hinges on its ability to be network agnostic. Much like the problem with roaming, the real limitation to eUICC’s success is establishing how MNOs can share traffic and remain profitable. This dilemma has perhaps contributed to the slower uptake in IoT technology and could perhaps be solved by the network switching at a level above the MNOs – offering a network agnostic solution.
The need for a ‘Star Alliance’ Federation model for IoT
Imagine if you could buy one SIM and have unrestricted, local access to a wide range of mobile networks anywhere in the world, with the reassurance you are buying into a single contact point for service that is still supported by all the big global MNOs?
A more commercially favourable and collaborative approach is required, such as a ‘federation of MNOs’, or to put it another way the ‘Star Alliance’ of the airline world for IoT to prevent them from becoming a commodity. Much like the Star Alliance where you would buy a single air ticket, travel around the world and pay once if one MNO sells a global deal in one country, each MNO in the federation needs to then deliver the traffic requirements in their own country.
The AnyNet Federation is one step towards this goal and could offer a more secure future for IoT devices, with easy management, one support contract and a single bill.
Next week: how IoT could change the way we shop
Join us next week for a look at the digitisation of the High Street and how IoT will impact the Average Revenue Per User. For a more in-depth look at trend predictions for IoT, you can also download our whitepaper ‘Predictions for 2020 and Beyond: What’s Next for IoT?’