Distinguishing the Signal from the Noise

Telecommunications simply fascinates me. It always has. Call me old fashioned if you will. In my opinion, what the telecoms technology has given us in recent decades is truly amazing to say the least.

Do you remember those rotary dial phones that we had in the 70s and 80s? Well, maybe some of you do! As a young boy I also took it for granted that we could just use a phone to talk to someone on the other side of the world. But growing up I later realised how amazing it all really was.

The need to communicate

It all started with the invention of the telegraph. The electromagnetic telegraph relay allowed signals to be transmitted long distances by amplifying weaker electrical currents, enabling communication from Britain to the United States via a transatlantic telegraph cable in 1844. This was a huge break through!

Then along came the telephone. The first call was made in 1876. Simply put, it converted electrical signals back into audible sound and allowed the human voice to be transmitted and heard in real-time, again from one side of the planet to the other. Another significant break-through.

The advent of the telegraph and subsequently the telephone marked a transformative era in human communication. The societal impacts of these technological marvels were profound, reshaping the very fabric of how individuals interacted. These innovations not only revolutionised communication but also ushered in an unprecedented era of direct and instant conversation over vast distances, instigating swift and substantial social and economic transformations.

The telegraph and telephone triggered a wave of innovation and laid the essential groundwork for future advancements in telecommunications. These pioneering technologies acted as precursors to subsequent breakthroughs like radio and the internet, setting the stage for a continuous evolution in how we connect and share information across the globe.

Speed of people vs the speed of light

Within a few years, the movement of information had gone from the speed of people to the speed of light, using wires and technology. But then, in the beginning of the 20th century, the next revolution took place. That was radio!

Radio is the technology of communicating using radio waves and it liberated communications from the constraint of using wires.

Radio waves have almost magical properties. Travelling through our atmosphere or the universe, they are electromagnetic waves propagating at the speed of light. Every day, billions of devices around the world connect and share data at the speed of light, through a powerful, invisible force known as electromagnetism.

Radio broadcasting and radio communications

Radio has multiple use cases in our modern world and the most common is in communications. Also known as Cellular or Mobile Communications.

For my ten-year-old self, Mobile Cellular Technology was something from a futuristic sci-fi move. But these days everyone seems to just take the technology for granted as if it were completely normal.

Am I the only person that thinks this is amazing?

Where science meets Science-Fiction: The future is here

The first commercial automated cellular network (1G) was analogue, and was launched in Japan in 1979. In 1991, the second-generation (2G) digital cellular technology was launched in Finland using the GSM standard. In 1992 the first international roaming agreement was signed between Finland and the UK, and in the same year the first SMS was sent.

And as they say, the rest is history!

Back to business now, so let’s fast-forward to the present. What I was leading up to in our history lesson was to highlight a common thread between the old wireline phone world and the modern world of mobile telecoms, which is something we call Signalling.

Give me a signal

Did you know that signalling is the use of signals to control communications in telecommunications and is one of the most important basic principles in telecommunications? It conveys information about the call through the telephone system in order to control, route, and maintain the call. It is a major component of any telephone system. Electric pulses or audible tones are used for requesting a connection, dialling the called party’s number, monitoring idle lines and call or session information such as busy signals. This principle dates back to the very beginning of telecommunications, but somewhat more recently, it was included into mobile communications networks to facilitate roaming as well.

What do you mean there is no roaming?!

When we turn on our mobile phones in another country, they automatically try to attach to a visited network and immediately exchange Signalling messages with your home network provider before they let your phone attach. Once you attach to the visited network, you are back online again.

That’s roaming! Very simplified!

Without signalling there is  no communications and equally, without signalling, there is no roaming!

In case you didn’t know, Comfone provides Wholesale International Roaming Services to Mobile Network Operators worldwide. One of these services is signalling, also known as Roaming Mobility Signalling.

Roaming is important for us as consumers, so therefore it is important that MNOs offer a good quality roaming service to us as consumers.

Creating value for customers

This is where Comfone comes in. MNOs can trust Comfone to provide good quality roaming services. But this is not the only important thing; there are more than a dozen other very good reasons for MNOs to use Comfone’s IPX Mobility Signalling Services to enable the interconnection with other Communication Service Providers (CSPs) to facilitate International Roaming Services. In fact, there are 14 good reasons to be precise!

The 14 value propositions to use Comfone’s Signalling Services

The 14 reasons, which we will showcase in the coming months, are all solid value propositions. Some are even Comfone’s unique value propositions to show our customers the value of using Comfone as their exclusive IPX signalling services provider, or at least as the primary provider.

Let’s take a brief look at them here:

1. Pulse traffic reporting

Comfone’s online business portal Pulse is where our customers have access to all of their Key2roam Platform service-related apps, documents and of course all traffic statistics. This user-friendly client portal empowers our customers with self-service functions in a single, organised place, whilst streamlining support processes.

2. Monitoring your roaming business

Staying on top of their roaming business is crucially important for MNOs.

Comfone IPX Signalling customers have access to our near real-time IPX signalling traffic monitoring applications – Hawkeye and Signalling Tracing.

Developed for and tested by our own NOC team, they are key to monitoring the roaming business and ensuring that both our customer’s inbound and outbound roaming always experience seamless service.

3. NOC support and troubleshooting

Comfone IPX signalling service customers, who use Comfone as their exclusive or primary carrier find it much easier when they need to contact our NOC team. This is because our NOC Engineers have full and direct access to the customer’s signalling traffic, making it quicker and more efficient to troubleshoot and find solutions.

As a Comfone IPX customer, Comfone’s NOC team is available for you 24/7 to support with any international roaming-related issues.

4. Roaming business continuity

As I mentioned, Comfone customers who use Comfone as their Signalling Carrier exclusively, will benefit from our IPX signalling Value Added Services. Some MNOs however have a multi-IPX-carrier strategy but would still like to benefit from our IPX signalling Value Added Services. In these scenarios, Comfone serves as the primary traffic path while working with the secondary, backup carrier for an automatic switch-over in case there are issues. This is like an insurance policy and gives any business continuity plan more depth and substance.

5. The one and only Key2roam Hub

The Comfone Roaming Hub service, Key2roam Hub, is unique in the industry. The Roaming Hub is dependent on being in the IPX signalling service flow, but it is Signalling Provider agnostic, meaning that our Hub customers do not need to be signalling customers.

However, we will demonstrate the benefits of using our Signalling combined with the Roaming Hub in the coming months.

6. Roaming business intelligence amplified

In Comfone’s Big Data suite of services and applications called DMS, data is sourced mainly from the input of Data Clearing TAP file information. While TAP offers sufficient data to provide valuable roaming business intelligence, it can be augmented and made even more valuable with the addition of IPX signalling information. The more IPX signalling traffic we can insert into our DMS data marts, the more valuable the intelligence is for our Comfone DMS customers.

7. Smooth transition to 5G Standalone roaming

An efficient rollout of 5G SA roaming is possible when MNOs can address all the components necessary to deliver high quality roaming services.

These include IPX signalling, sufficient IPX User Data bandwidth, roaming business continuity with resilience and redundancy, reliable customer support, traffic reporting and monitoring applications, security, policy, business intelligence, roaming hub requirements, roaming VAS and of course, charging and clearing.

Successfully implementing each of these elements can help operators realise at least a partial return on their investment in their 5G SA network with the support of their trusted roaming services provider – Comfone.

8. Global coverage & global IPX backbone

More than 300 MNO customers worldwide are all connected to our global IPX network using one or more IPX services. We reach every data centre and network equipment centre worldwide and we own and operate network Points of Presence all around the world. Network quality, service redundancy and resilience are all elements of Comfone’s IPX services.

9. Sponsored Roaming for MNOs and MVNOs

In all Sponsored Roaming scenarios, the sponsoring MNO needs to integrate their core network elements with those of the sponsored MVNO. This integration is often performed using Comfone’s IPX signalling services.

10. Roaming VAS such as Steering and Welcome SMS

Comfone IPX signalling service customers benefit from our hosted and fully managed SaaS Steering of Roaming and Welcome SMS applications in full cooperation with our trusted partners Amplitiv and Cellusys.

11. Signalling security

Comfone IPX signalling service customers benefit from our hosted and fully managed SaaS Signalling Security solution in full cooperation with our trusted partner Cellusys.

12. Google OTP SMS traffic

Comfone IPX signalling service customers benefit from our partnership with Google for the direct delivery of Google OTP SMS traffic over SS7, hugely reducing the potential of A2P SMS fraud in path to their networks.

13. The interface to NTN 5G Satellite Providers

Satellite providers are now adopting 3GPP compliant 5G and NB-IoT satellites, which communicate directly with standard 5G and NB-IoT devices on earth. This means that the bridge between the new 5G satellite world and the mobile operator world is established by means of the standardised mobile roaming interfaces, including the IPX signalling, Roaming Hub and BCE services, which Comfone provides.

14. Private Enterprise network enablement

Some private networks will have requirements for inbound and outbound roaming to and from domestic and even international networks. Comfone’s IPX signalling services form the bridge between the different networks.


The final curtain

The roaming mobility signalling was designed to facilitate the smooth enablement of consumer and device roaming.

All of these services which we have mentioned here and which Comfone provides, have a far-reaching impact on our Mobile Operator customers and their subscribers as well as on millions of devices embedded in applications used in everyday life and business all over the world.

I hope I was able to demonstrate to you why it is so important to us to provide the best possible quality and how we strive to provide as much value with our services as possible to our customers.

That is why at Comfone we provide borderless and easy communications to all people and all things!

Contact us today at to learn more about how we can support you.

Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

About the author

Derek Moser

VP Business Development

Enter a search term