Without getting too technical, international roaming services ensure that a mobile phone remains connected to a mobile network while the subscriber is abroad, or outside of the geographical coverage area of the home country network.
The mobile phone connects to a visited network (i.e. the network of a mobile operator in the visited country) which allows the subscriber to automatically make and receive voice calls, send and receive SMS and data, or access other services while travelling abroad.
In order for a subscriber to use a visited network while abroad, both the home and visited networks need to exchange various types of information. To do this, multiple interconnections need to exist between the home network and the visited network.
Comfone enables all of the necessary interconnections between the two mobile network operators to ensure the necessary information can be exchanged. There are over 900 mobile network operators worldwide and they all need to be connected to one another in order to offer roaming services to their subscribers. Comfone enables the various interconnections from and to all of the mobile network operators worldwide.
A visualisation of the services required to establish roaming.
Signalling: Comfone establishes the signalling connection (either via underground cables or the internet) between the 2 operators so mobile phone signals can be transported back and forth between the mobile networks.
GRX: The GRX service enables subscribers to use the data services of the home network while travelling abroad. Data Services include Email, Internet access, Whatsapp etc.
Data Clearing: Comfone exchanges the information between the mobile networks about the phone calls made in the visited network (call length, rates to be charged etc.). This ensures that at the end of a period, mobile operators know how much to charge one another for allowing foreign subscribers to roam in their mobile network.
Financial Clearing: Comfone manages all roaming-related financial transactions between mobile operators to ensure the visited network receives the correct invoices and payments from the home networks when roaming subscribers use a foreign mobile network.
Roaming Hub: In a traditional roaming setup, the home network and the visited network require a roaming agreement which stipulates the prices charged by each network when a foreign subscriber roams. Comfone’s Roaming Hub service simplifies the technical setup of these agreements by offering connections to multiple, hub-connected operators through one agreement with the Key2roam Hub.
Comfone is the only supplier in the roaming services market that offers all of the services required to establish international roaming between two mobile operators. This enables up to package all of the above elements together into one service, the Key2roam Platform.
When a mobile operator contracts all of the services from Comfone, the advantage is that all of the information can be easily consolidated and used to analyse costs, investigate different roaming behaviour and therefore increase revenues and reduce risks for the mobile operator.