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Roaming the Plains of Serengeti with a mobile phone

Old_fashioned_phone

"What do you do for a living?"

"I do roaming!"

"Aha…. (long pause) …. so like a nomad on the plains of Serengeti."

"Well ah, something like that yes, but with a mobile phone."

"Mobile phone, what's that?"

"Well ah, hmmm, where do I start…?"

'Roaming' used to mean to move about or travel aimlessly.

Then in the early 90s, we were gifted with mobile phones. Shortly afterwards, a few mobile telecoms companies from different countries in Europe got together and decided to design a complex set of systems to allow each other's subscribers on each other's mobile network to make calls. Yes, make calls, because that is all we were able to do back then with mobile phones!

Then these clever people had to give this clever new system a clever name. They called it roaming. So from then on, roaming took on a completely new meaning.

Everybody loved this new roaming. It worked seamlessly when we travelled internationally. It was great. So convenient. Albeit sometimes a bit too expensive. Some people complained about the extra charges, regulation was introduced in the E.U. and charges dropped. Consequently, roaming tariffs started dropping everywhere around the world.

Roaming tariffs came down to such a level, it even made it hard for some of the Mobile Network Operators to cover the costs incurred just to provide roaming to their subscribers. Because what many people don't know is that it is a complex system and this system has a cost.

So, what do you do if your revenues and margins take a hit? You put pressure on your vendors to reduce their pricing to save costs.

Comfone is a roaming services vendor. Vendor's services vary in many ways, even if they are called the same.

How does Comfone stand out as a vendor? 

Attention to detail, passion, friendliness, expertise and solid support are all soft factors which help us define ourselves and our services when we are compared to our competitors. It's not only about price!

Innovation is key. By building new functions and features on top of your services, as is displayed in Hawkeye, we provide all of the extra elements that users really need.

We couple our innovative approach with the power of lots of good hardware and smart software. This means that huge amounts of data is converted into information that is useful to save costs or generate more revenue for our customers. This we call Big Data Management.

Monetisation is also in demand with our customers. After all, if your revenues and margins are under attack, then monetisation will be an attractive proposition.

Mobile operators have network assets, which can be monetised. They have customer relationships, which can be monetised.

One way in which Comfone is supporting our customers is by helping to monetise their roaming footprint. Mobile operators with a strong global roaming coverage and competitive rates can lease their coverage to MVNOs and IoT MVNOs, who need international coverage to complement their service offerings. This is called Sponsored Roaming and Comfone is experienced in helping both parties benefit by bringing them together.

There are other monetisation opportunities too, like A2P Enterprise Messaging with SMS and RCS, coming soon. Opening up to APIs giving access to your subscribers for other companies to provide innovative new services is also a source of revenues. Partnerships with IoT Platform companies to provide M2M services to the market is another.

These monetisation opportunities help with the here and now.


What about the future? 

We are at the beginning of new decade with the telecoms industry throwing around many fabulous new acronyms of new technological advancements, which will offer us all amazing new opportunities.

With the advent of 5G, there will be many more new innovations in mobile telecommunications.

We will see Mobile Operators becoming Communication Service Providers and offering services like NaaS (Network as a Service), a wholesale network for other CSPs to use to provide their services over the top. We will see CSPs use their network resources to offer a digital ecosystem by addressing a particular market niche, such as in banking, data privacy and insurance use cases.

At Comfone we are preparing ourselves to serve the Communication Services Providers of the future. The Comfone IPX Network is the IP Interconnection Ecosystem for the future of Telecommunications and connects all of these existing MNOs, MVNOs and new types of CSPs with one another. Our Data and Financial Clearing services help them all settle their accounts with one another. Our Key2roam Hub removes much of administrative and technical setup and testing tasks between these different types of networks, which is very useful for the imminent rollout of 5G.

Our services are constantly being developed and are evolving to meet the needs of future CSPs.

We are in this for the long term. We will continue to play a small but very important role in the services chain for mobile operators of today and CSPs of tomorrow.

And we will do this with hard work, dedication, a good portion of fun, creativity and passion!

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